The latest entrant to the large field in the race for Georgia's governor announced his decision to take on the Republican Party and shared some of his more unorthodox views.
Ray Boyd, a commercial real estate broker from Morgan County who considers himself a “Reagan Republican”, called into to Tuesday's “Mornings unPHILtered” program to talk about his decision to enter the gubernatorial race. Boyd told host Phil Boyum that he plans to put $2 million of his own money into his campaign to get the Republican Party back on track.
“I'm just sick and tired of the way this party has gone and I'm going to take it back.” Boyd said. “The way I decided to do it was from the inside.”
As Boyd was preparing his documentation to qualify to run for governor, he said he was disturbed to find a pledge that he must sign swearing his allegiance to the Georgia Republican Party. According to Boyd, Executive Director of the Georgia GOP Toby Carr told him he must sign the “oath of affirmation” to run as a Republican. Boyd said he was concerned how an oath to the party might conflict with his responsibility to his constituents.
“What they're basically saying to me is that if the Georgia Republican Party takes a position then I'm swearing allegiance to it,” Boyd said. “I told them I have a real problem with that. That's what I'm running against.”
According to Boyd, state GOP chairman Sue P. Everhart told him if he didn't like the pledge and refused to sign it that he should consider running as an independent. Boyd offered the state party a compromise, giving them a statement that started with the pledge but also outlining his ability to distance himself from policy he doesn't agree with or that isn't good for his constituents. The state GOP declined his offer.
Boyd said he made a pledge of allegiance first to his wife, and then to his country. He insisted that he would make none other. According to Boyd, Ann Lewis, the Republican Party Attorney, told him he had no other choice but to sign the pledge if he wanted to run as a Republican.
Georgia code states (O.C.G.A. 21-2-153 (b) 4), “If party rules so require, (he or she) affirms his or her allegiance to his or her party by signing the following oath: 'I do hereby swear or affirm my allegiance to the (name of party) Party.'” In “The Rules for the Georgia Republican Party,” which were adopted by the party May 2009, it states, “Any candidate for elective office running as a Republican Party candidate shall submit to the appropriate level of the party the following oath affirming his or her allegiance to the party by signing the following oath: 'I do swear or affirm my allegiance to the Georgia Republican Party.'”
“How did Republicans get this in the Georgia Code?” Boyd said. “This is un-American. To sign a blank pledge like that, I can't imagine.”
Boyd said he refuses to run as an independent and said he would show up in Atlanta to register as a Republican candidate to see if they throw him out of the office when he refuses to sign the pledge. According to Boyd, many of his friends have encouraged him just to shut up and sign the pledge. Boyd insisted he wouldn't give in, nor give up the fight, and would not allow the state GOP to take away his right to run for public office.
In an email to the Herald, Bulloch County Republican Party Chair Lawton Sack said the Bulloch GOP does not require an oath as part of its qualification process. Sack said while the Georgia Code allows for the party to have an oath in its Rules, the local rules do not have that requirement.
While Boyd spent the majority of the interview obviously upset by the Georgia GOP's request for him to sign the oath of affirmation, he unexpectantly talked about his vision for the structure of the state legislature.
Boyd said that if the federal government can run a country whose population is over 300 million with only 535 representatives and senators then Georgia, with 8 million people, could be governed by less representation.
“We've got 236 (state) senators and representatives in there. I don't think we need but about 50,” Boyd said. “We could save a hell of a lot of money by sending those others…..I don't think we need a senate and house of representatives. I've been seeing in the paper about bills being sent back and to between the senate and the house. I think we can get 50 good people in there and they can decide what they do. Let's have one house. Instead of a bicameral house, let's have a unicameral house.”
Carr and Everhart could not be reached for comment.
The entire Boyd interview can be heard at www.statesboroherald.com/multimedia/1223/.
Phil Boyum contributed to this report.
“Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com.