Convention confusion: Reaction over Harrison County Republican c - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Convention confusion: Reaction over Harrison County Republican convention

Committee Chairman, Mary Bankston, reads state delegates names. (Image Source: WLOX News) Committee Chairman, Mary Bankston, reads state delegates names. (Image Source: WLOX News)
The Harrison County courthouse was packed with delegates from county precincts. (Image Source: WLOX News) The Harrison County courthouse was packed with delegates from county precincts. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Only 18 county delegates were chosen to go to the state GOP convention. (Image Source: WLOX News) Only 18 county delegates were chosen to go to the state GOP convention. (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

On Saturday afternoon, the Harrison County courthouse was bustling with activity for the Harrison County Republican Party convention.

Attendee Frank Genzer has been with the Harrison County Republican Party since 1988.

"The primary objective today was to elect new executive committee members, delegates to the state convention and alternate delegates to the state convention," said Genzer. 

Several delegates who had only been selected earlier in the day were new to the process, like 22-year-old Hannah Stewart.

"As a millennial, I just felt like it was time for us to start getting involved," said Stewart. "A lot of millennials are either clueless, or are just easily swayed by what others tell them and want them to believe."

For Stewart, the convention has a steep learning curve. But, she's not the only one confused by the way voting works.

The delegates were invited into the boardroom to vote on who would represent the county at the state GOP convention. Unbeknownst to some, those going to the state convention had already been selected by a nominating committee.

The delegates were simply there to approve or deny the list. 

"Anyone could have objected to the slate that was presented and the permanent chair. I was not the permanent convention chair, but the permanent chair asked if there was any opposition to it and there was none," said Genzer.

Ted Murphy, a member of the Republican Party who wasn't a delegate, says he was just there to observe. He is highly dissatisfied with the process, and made it known to party leaders.

"It gave every appearance in there that it was a done deal before those people walked in that room," said Murphy.

Genzer says nothing was done out of the ordinary. 

"I'm sorry that they feel that way because we followed exactly what the rules of Harrison County, and the state, and they were handed out," said Genzer. "If anyone objected to the report of the nominating committee, they could have objected."

The state GOP convention will be held May 13 and 14 in Jackson. Eighteen delegates from Harrison County were selected to attend. 

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