GOP Chair John Padgett: Donald Trump Can Be a Good Candidate

Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett at the Georgia GOP convention in May 2015. Photo: Jon Richards
Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett at the Georgia GOP convention in May 2015. Photo: Jon Richards
Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett weighed in on Donald Trump, who is the current leader in polls of Georgia Republican primary voters, saying that the billionaire real estate developer isn’t a typical politician who can relate to average Americans because he doesn’t use political speak. Padgett made his remarks on WGAU Radio‘s Newsmakers with Tim Bryant program Friday morning.

With the Georgia presidential primary five weeks from tomorrow, Padgett talked about Trump’s chances, saying, “Do I think that Donald Trump’s got a chance to be our candidate? Yup I do. And do I think that he’ll be a good candidate? Yes I do. And do I think that he can beat whoever the Democrats put up as their candidate? Yes I do.”

Bryant then asked Padgett whether Trump will be a conservative candidate.

I think he’ll be conservative enough that the base of the party will go vote for him, and that’s what you’ve got to have. We watched Obama beat us in the last presidential election with a whole bunch of Republicans sitting on their hands. We came through every kind of primary battle you can have in the last [2014] election, and the Republicans didn’t sit on their hands, and I don’t think Republicans in this country are going to sit on their hands. It’s going to be whoever the Republican candidate is against the Democrat and their ideas, and I don’t think the Republicans are in any mood to be sitting on their hands right now.

Padgett’s term as party chairman runs through May 2017. He is not planning to run for re-election.

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Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Someone please tell me what he’s smoking and how much he had to smoke to convince himself that Donald Trump is a viable general election candidate. Also, the narrative of “durr, we lost in 2012 because Republicans didn’t turn out” is so trite at this point. Romney outperformed McCain in every battleground state other than Ohio. Colorado – 52,000 more votes Florida – 117,000 more votes Virginia – 65,000 more votes Wisconsin – 146,000 more votes Obama had lower turnout from 2008 in Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio. Obama won because he did a good… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie

The role of the party’s chairman is to be for the nominee of the party. Unlike a lot of the “establishment” who believes their role as party activists is to “hold elected officials accountable” while they rail against “the establishment” with no hit of self awareness or irony, most who hold party positions understand they have one job: To support the nominees of the party. Period. Anyone else that says it is something else is fooling themselves, trying to fool others, or both. That said, I’m damn glad I’m not a GOP official about now. (As I’m sure are many… Read more »

On the Right
On the Right

While I’m a proponent of party protection and loyalty, I believe Padgett has one job before supporting the nominee of the party: keeping the party intact. The party became viable in the first place because it was able to support its nominees through the general election process — but if there’s no party next election, it really doesn’t matter who you support now. Since 2010, there have been gleeful calls on the left announcing a third party. The Tea Party didn’t work because its ideological goals (while right of the Republican base) are just a little too similar to Republican… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie

Serious question: What would you propose Padgett (or any chairman faced with a similar situation) do, given that party rules (and precedent) are pretty specific about not getting involved in primaries?

I still look at this as the job of the grass roots and voters to weed out the bad and horrible candidates. If we let the chairmen/women start deciding “who is a worthy Republican”, that’s a slippery slope that is paved with potential abuse.

The Eiger
The Eiger

We have been agreeing on way to many things lately, but a couple of things I want to point out. We can rehash why exactly Romney lost in 2012. At the end of the day, it was a lack of turnout where we needed it. I want to ask this question of everyone. What is the Republican base? This isn’t a trap. It is an honest question. Here are a few options. 1) The loudest/angriest people. 2) People who haven’t missed a primary vote in 4+ primaries. 3) A person who has recently converted to conservatism. 4) People that the… Read more »

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

“The media continues to cover the angry and call the angry people the base. That’s not true.”

I’m not sure this contention is entirely true. I say that because Trump is leading in polls and the polls arent just done at campaign rallies. They arent conducted in a complete vacuum. Sure it’s not an exact science. But still Trump leads in polls. For your statement to be true, pollsters across the board are targeting angry folk. I find it hard to believe that kind of coordination is occurring across so many polling orgs.

The Eiger
The Eiger

Looking at the crosstabs of the recent polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina Trump leads among every demographic. This is true. But his lead diminishes quite a bit amongst regular primary and caucuses goers. He is certainly getting the support in polling from people who would not traditionally vote in primaries or vote at all. We will see if he wins as big as projected in Iowa or wins at all next week. I’m not convinced that pollsters have figured out how to poll national elections yet. There is a reason that Gallup gave up doing presidential tracking… Read more »

Baker
Baker

“I’m not convinced that pollsters have figured out how to poll national elections yet. There is a reason that Gallup gave up doing presidential tracking polls. They can’t figure out how to make to accurate. I hope Trump’s numbers are a lot softer than projected. If not and he becomes the nominee millions of the republican “base” that aren’t angry will be staying home. Guaranteed.” Lord I hope you’re right. Btw, I think I’m pretty angry. But I’m not totally irrational. He would be a horrible nominee and who knows what he would do as president. I really have zero… Read more »

The Eiger
The Eiger

I should make better use of the edit button.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Are we questioning his responsibility to support the selection of the GOP voters or expecting Padgett to reject Trump as a bonafide Republican ?

What he and the party will do is move the “conservative” bar. But this is a group that jumps into religious matters to broaden their base and then can’t sort out the fundamentalists, evangelicals, Christian conservatives or deists.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Should add that the GOP with the left in their aim to be “inclusive” cant seem to sort out meeting social needs without expanding government ownership or addressing economic issues without merging banks and corporations into oligarchies that drive the wage gap.

As countries in Northern Europe eclipse us in education and business friendly we can still ride on our shear size for some time. And a great county for them to invest in….l

auh2o
auh2o

I hear whistling past the graveyard. Trump is going to smoke the field like a barnyard hawg. The Reagan dems also come back to the fold, too.

Bart
Bart

Based on the current trend, I would say the base is made up of a bipartisan amalgamation of pissed off folks with mutual disgust for government and big business. Those mad at business / rich people ‘feel the Bern’ while the rest who despise government, Mexicans and gays are on the TrumpWagon. In other words, neither party has a solid, trustworthy base thus leading to the political turmoil we see everyday on MSNBC, Fox and CNN. Voters have merged their anger and directed it toward all politicians (establishment for lack of a better term). Party does not matter, it’s about… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

This is such an example of why we need more (additional) viable political parties. Party leaders can say things like that because they know that in the end there will only be two choices, and for most people it’s either an easy choice between the two or they don’t see enough difference so they don’t care. Having to build coalitions should be baked into the system so we don’t constantly get this “us or them” mentality. That doesn’t really serve the citizens very well.

Charlie
Charlie

Again, I go back to what is the party leader’s job? Provide a litmus test for who can qualify? That doesn’t seem to work lately and probably wouldn’t legally. Pick a candidate in the primary? That never ends well.

His job is to support the nominee, and despite the fact I and many others believe Mr. Trump isn’t a Republican, it’s our job to convince the majority of Republicans that he isn’t the best for our party or our country.

But that’s not Mr. Padgett’s job. His is to support the nominee.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Well maybe we are not exactly approaching Godwin’s Law here, but at some point Party leaders are supposed to, like, lead. Trump is probably dangerous to have as President. If Republicans haven’t crossed some sort of line with him, where the hell is the line? Who would have to be the nominee for a party leader to demur?

Lawton Sack
Lawton Sack

Sometimes silence speaks loudly.

Will Durant
Will Durant

If Donald Trump became my party’s nominee then my conscience would not allow me to remain a leader of said party. YMMV.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Apparently many folks here do not understand the role of anyone on any Board. When they represent their organization they must speak within the authority of that Board. If they have a personal opinion they must clearly say so and exclude those we could assume they represent. I doubt his Board has voted to exclude or negatively opine on any of the candidates and his only answer can be the one he gave. That said I am reminded of a psych class on understanding crowd/mob behavior. I’m sure the Don would have aced it. And when the movie is made,… Read more »

Will Durant
Will Durant

While the lesser of two evils argument is an old one I’m not sure the choice for POTUS has ever devolved into trying to figure out which one will be in the 8th circle vs. the 9th.