The team led by Dendy, 68, took 163 votes (61.5 percent) at Saturday’s county convention at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, compared to 102 votes (38.5 percent) for the team of Libertarian Oleg Ivutin, 35, a native of Russia and supporter of Paul, a former Texas Congressman and presidential candidate. Winning along with Dendy were First Vice Chair Rose Wing, Second Vice Chair Justin Tomzcak, Secretary Robert Potts, Assistant Secretary Helen Story, Treasurer Vince Clanton and Assistant Treasurer Gus Makris.
“It does show me that the party is still behind me and they are with the direction I’ve taken the party the last two years,” Dendy said.
Dendy’s “Old Guard” team was aided when airline pilot Darryl Wilson dropped out of the race on Wednesday to help avoid diluting the votes of the mainstream candidates.
Questions about voting
Ivutin, a Smyrna resident, said his candidacy was likely doomed when attendees voted, by a 131-124 margin, to make the vote public, as opposed to a secret ballot.
Ivutin said making how people vote known is an old trick used by labor unions.
“A lot of people that voted for the other party, if we had a secret ballot, would have voted for us. Unions do not allow secret ballots for that exact purpose, which is peer pressure.”
Dendy, a west Cobb resident, said the decision on whether to vote publicly was up to attendees. “We were prepared either way,” he said.
Due to term limits, Dendy won’t be able to run for a third consecutive term in 2015.
The Cobb GOP will focus on broadening its base over the next two years.
Dendy said it is reaching out to minority groups, including planning a Hispanic business lunch for next month.
“The Republican Party as a whole needs to reach out,” he said. “We don’t have to compromise our principles.”
The Cobb GOP is also making civic engagement efforts with young people. A video on the U.S. Constitution, featuring state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and his family, is now being shown in classrooms across the state.
Ivutin, who came to the United States in 2001 and now owns several businesses, had posted a YouTube video in which he accuses “RINOs,” Republicans in Name Only, of voting like socialists. After Saturday’s vote, he said he was pleased with how civil the meeting was.
While he wasn’t sure if it meant running again for county chairman in two years or looking at a public office, Ivutin, who just entered the race on March 1, said he plans to stay active in Republican circles.
“The last election kind of opened everyone’s eyes,” he said. “When the leadership is wrong, they need to listen to the opposition in the party. And when they do not, their weaknesses are exploited by the Democrats.”
Running unsuccessfully along with Ivutin were Daniel Galloway for first vice chair, Nathaniel Darnell for secretary, Richard Clark for assistant secretary and Chad Teague for assistant treasurer.
State Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) attended last summer’s Republican National Convention in Tampa as a guest of Ivutin, who was a Ron Paul delegate. But after Saturday’s vote, he called for party unity after the vote.
“I believe the Republican Party needs to be a big tent that focuses on drawing people in so we can win elections,” Gregory said.