MARIETTA — It was a tale of two barbecues as Republicans and Democrats gathered on the 4th of July to celebrate the holiday and talk shop.
Early Friday afternoon, the Cobb Republican Party met at Jim Miller Park, while members of the Cobb Democratic Party gathered at a union hall about six miles away.
Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy said between 1,000 to 1,200 attended his party’s event, which was catered by Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q. Organizers at the Democrats’ event said about 100 people turned out, and a member of the party worked the grill to feed guests. Attendees at both events said their gatherings felt more like celebrations than serious political forums.
“Everyone was very cordial,” said Michael Ware of Marietta, a job recruiter who attended the GOP event. “Nothing negative was said about any candidate.”
Ware said he initially attended to learn more about the candidates running for retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford’s seat. While he said he didn’t learn enough to decide who he wants to vote for, he had a “wonderful” time. “I’ll be there next year for sure,” he said.
The event featured guest speakers, including Gov. Nathan Deal, who thanked voters for not sending him to a runoff, as well as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Attorney General Sam Olens and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Democrats had a more informal gathering, without any scheduled speeches, but Ruthe Levy of east Cobb said everyone was invited, not just Democrats. Attendees had time to speak with Juanita Stedman, who is running for the District 13 judgeship, labor commissioner candidate Robin Shipp, state school superintendent hopeful Valarie Wilson and Derrick Crump, a candidate for Cobb’s District 1 commission seat.
“It’s a red, white and blue day, and the Dems are the blue part,” said Levy, who owns a Fulton County book and toy shop.