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Reed goal is ending fighting in party
May 13th, 2001 - Atlanta Journal Constitution - In one of his first appearances since winning the state GOP chairmanship, Ralph Reed moved quickly Saturday to rally his troops and end party squabbling. Speaking to a breakfast meeting of north Fulton County Republicans in Roswell, Reed challenged the party members to stop fighting with each other and begin fighting Democrats.

“We’ll fail if we don’t do one thing,” Reed said to about 100 early risers. “We need a unified, open and diverse party and we need to get to work immediately to begin a campaign to bring them in.”

The Duluth resident and founder of the Christian Coalition has named Coke executive Rudy Bessara to lead an outreach movement called Uno Nuevo Dia to recruit Latino voters. “And we’ll do the same thing in the African-American community. We are actively recruiting more women, too,” Reed said. Although the group he was speaking to was predominantly white, male and older, there were several African-Americans in the audience as well as young women, including the new chairwoman of the Fulton County Republican Party, Liz Hausmann.

Reed wants to build a grassroots movement beginning at the precinct level by recruiting, training and testing chairmen for every precinct in the state. It is the same tactic Reed used to make the Christian Coalition a successful political force. If we can pick up just 25 or 30 votes in each precinct, that could be the difference in the governor’s race, in the Senate race or in the congressional races,” he said.

Reed vowed to fight Democratic manipulation of reapportionment, saying he was prepared to take the issue to the courts – “all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.” Reed was not the favorite candidate of the Northside Republicans. Several in the audience confessed they were dubious about his chairmanship. Ron Cagle, who came to the meeting only to hear what Reed had to say, said he thought most of the answers to problems facing the country lay with moderates, not with the far right or far left.

And former state party Chairman Bob Shaw, who introduced Reed, admitted sending out letters in favor of one of his opponents. “But he’s our chairman now and if we get behind him, we’ll be the recipients of his leadership,” Shaw said.  

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