Sen. Cruz Names Ralph Hudgens and Jody Hice Georgia Campaign Chairmen, plus numerous co-chairs, district chairs, and grassroots influencers to lead Georgia campaign
HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today announced his Georgia Leadership Team, a collection of top activists, current and former state officials, and faith leaders from across the state. The group, led by Ralph Hudgens and Congressman Jody Hice, will aid in building Cruz’s grassroots network in the Peach State, which will vote in the March 1st “Super Tuesday” primary. State Sens. Mike Crane, Marty Harbin, William Ligon, and Josh McKoon will co-chair.
This Saturday, Sen. Cruz will speak at the 7th Annual Red State Gathering in Atlanta and then take his “Cruz Country” bus tour through Newnan and Midland. Event schedule may be found at https://www.tedcruz.org/cruzcountry/.
“Sen. Cruz is the kind of principled conservative we need to stop the Washington Cartel of establishment politicians and special interests who govern to enrich themselves before the American people,” said Georgia Chairman Ralph Hudgens. “I am proud to serve as his Georgia Chairman and lead this incredibly strong team of Georgia leaders.”
“I’ve known Sen. Cruz as a man of great strength of character and I’m deeply honored to serve in this role,” said Congressman Jody Hice.
“Georgia is a crucial state to the 2016 election and I am looking forward to working alongside the stronghold of courageous conservatives who work tirelessly to defend conservative principles across the state,” said Cruz. “The team we have put together has unparalleled experience running and winning campaigns at the grassroots level. I am honored and excited to have their enthusiastic support as we spread our message in Georgia and across the region.”
The Cruz for President Georgia Leadership Team includes:
Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Georgia Campaign Chairman
Hudgens has served as Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner since 2010. His public service began with an appointment in the U.S. Department of Agriculture by President Bush. He went on to be elected to the Georgia House and then the Georgia Senate, serving fourteen years until his election as Insurance Commissioner. He is one of the state’s leading voices on insurance, business regulation, and consumer issues. He has served as a GOP delegate at the local, state, and federal level and is committed to the party platform of lower taxes, less government, and strong family values. He is 100 percent pro-life and a champion of various pro-family causes. Today, Ralph owns and operates several successful businesses, and understands firsthand how insurance premiums impact companies of all sizes.
Congressman Jody Hice- Georgia Campaign Chairman
Hice was elected to represent Georgia’s 10th Congressional District in 2014. He is a native of Atlanta and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. Hice first served as senior pastor of Bethlehem First Baptist Church, until April 2010 in Bethlehem, Georgia. In addition, he served as first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention (2004–05) and Professor of Preaching at Luther Rice Seminary. Hice served as senior pastor at The Summit Church, a Southern Baptist church, in Loganville, Georgia from 2011 until December 2013.
Sen. Mike Crane, Georgia Co-Chair
Sen. Crane was elected to the Georgia State Senate in December 2011 and represents the 28th District, which includes Coweta and Heard counties as well as portions of Carroll, Fulton, and Troup counties. He currently serves as chairman of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee. Sen. Crane and his wife of 26 years, Tracey, are blessed to have two children, Caitlin and Ethan.
Sen. Marty Harbin, Georgia Co-Chair
Sen. Harbin was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2014 and represents District 16 which includes Lamar, Spalding and Pike counties and most of Fayette County. Since 2009, Sen. Harbin has served in various leadership positions within the Republican Party- Fayette County District Representative, 3rd Vice Chair and 1st Vice Chair of the 3rd Congressional District. In 2012, he served as a delegate to the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Sen. William Ligon, Georgia Co-Chair
Sen. Ligon was first elected to the Georgia State Senate in November 2010 and represents the 3rd District. His Republican colleagues elected him to serve as Caucus Chairman for the Senate Majority during the 2015-2016 legislative term. He is proud to support Senator Cruz and the campaign.
Sen. Josh McKoon, Georgia Co-Chairman
Sen. McKoon has served Georgia’s 29th Senatorial District comprising Muscogee, Harris, Troup and Meriwether Counties since 2011. Sen. McKoon has served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 2013. He has been best known for leading the fight to reform Georgia’s ethics laws leading to the first ever limitation on lobbyist gifts to legislators in 2013 and is the author of Senate Bill 129, Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Kay Godwin, Georgia Grassroots Director
Godwin has been a grassroots activist for more than 27 years, serving on more than 100 local, state, and federal campaigns including as state grassroots co-chair for the George W. Bush campaign. Kay has been a Delegate/Alternate to four national conventions, and served as chairman of the Pierce County Republican Party and Georgia Under 80 Thousand counties. In 2003, Kay received the A. A. Richardson Georgia Republican Volunteer of the Year award. She is the co-founder of Georgia Conservatives In Action, Capital Coalition of Conservative Leaders, and Calling All Moms, and also serves on the Georgia Baptist Ethics and Public Policy committee.
Pat Tippett, Georgia Grassroots Coordinator
Tippett has been a grassroots activist for more than 25 years serving on numerous local, state, and federal campaigns, including as state grassroots co-chair for the George W. Bush campaign. She has been a Delegate/Alternate to four national conventions and served as Chair of the First Congressional District Republican Party in 2009-2011. In 2002, she received the A. A. Richardson Georgia Republican Volunteer of the Year award and in 2001 received the State of Georgia Republican Party Outstanding Service Award. She is the Co-founder of Georgia Conservatives in action, Co-founder of the Capital Coalition of Conservative Leaders, and Co-founder of Calling All Moms.
Brant Frost V, Georgia Grassroots Coordinator
Brant Frost is a Georgia native, and resides in Newnan. He has worked as a volunteer/leader for more than 20 state, local, and national campaigns, and served as Republican Party county chair, state committeeman, and delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Brant has served as legislative aide to Sen. Mike Crane since 2012.
Debra Giddens, 1st District Chair
Giddens is a native Georgian, a graduate of the University of Georgia and Valdosta State University, and a retired educator. She has worked as a volunteer/leader on political campaigns on the local, state, and national levels since 2000. Debra has served as Republican Party county chair and secretary, state committee member, and District 3 vice chair. Debra also served as a delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, and as alternate delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Rick Allen, 2nd District Chair
Allen is currently chairman of the Muscogee County Republican Party. He is a longtime conservative activist and was a candidate for Georgia’s Second Congressional District in 2012.
Katherine Frost, 3rd District Chair
Frost is a lifelong Georgian from Newnan. She has worked as GOTV director on six state and local campaigns, and led student teams to more than 50,000 houses to campaign door-to-door. In the 2013-2014 election cycle, Katie managed three campaigns, including Sen. Marty Harbin’s 60-40 victory. Katie currently works for Sen. Harbin and is chair of the Coweta-Fayette Young Republicans.
Bronwyn Jennings, 4th District Chair
Jennings is a seventh-generation Georgian and attended Georgia State University. She has been volunteer leader for more than seven state, local, and national campaigns. Bronwyn has served as a Republican Party county chair, and served on district rules and resolutions committees and as delegate to Georgia Republican conventions.
James Edwards, 5th District Chair
Edwards is serving his second term as a Fulton County GOP precinct chairman for precinct 6E and as a Vice President for the GOP 5th District. Edwards is the founder of the Buckhead Freedom Coalition.
Katie Spee, 6th District Chair
Spee recently worked with the conservative grassroots in GA and SC as Southeast Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action For America. In the past, she served as a precinct co-chairman and GOP convention delegate, organized voter registration events, served as a poll watcher for True the Vote, ran a successful social media campaign against the largest tax increase in Georgia history, and coordinated a Twitter town hall to defund Obamacare.
Judy Craft, 7th District Chair
Craft has been a volunteer pro-family activist for 20 years in various leadership capacities. She is a co-founder of Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta (1999) and currently serves as Program Director. She was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2000 and has worked to help elect many conservative candidates in Georgia. Judy has also served as the field director for Georgia Christian Alliance.
Gloria Alday, 8th District Chair
Alday is a native Georgian who has served as Houston County Chairman, 1st District Chairman, 8th District Chairman, and 2nd Vice Chairman of Georgia GOP. She was elected as Houston County Commissioner and has worked in many campaigns. She chaired the Bush 2000 and McCain-Palin campaigns in Houston County and served as a delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention. She served on many committees at local and state levels, has been a State Committee Member for 18 years.
Carol Mahoney, 9th District Chair
Mahoney has worked as a volunteer for local, state, and national campaigns in Michigan, Texas, and Georgia. Carol serves as vice president of membership and treasurer for the Village at Deaton Creek Republican Club in Hoschton. She is a member of the South Hall Republican Club and the Republican Women of Hall County.
Suzanne Hudgens, 10th District Chair
Hudgens has been a resident of Georgia for nearly 50 years and she and her husband, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, live outside Athens. Suzanne has worked in political campaigns since 1988, and started an Eagle Forum in Bainbridge, Georgia when Democrats dominated Georgia. She started Madison County GOP in 1990 and was chair for 10 years. She has been a national delegate, an alternate delegate, or guest to every National Republican Convention except one from 1988 – 2012.
Scott Johnson, 11th District Chair
Johnson is an executive in the retail/financial services consulting industry. He has served as Chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party, Chairman of the 11th District Republican Party, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party. Scott served as chairman of the board of Republican Leadership for Georgia from 2011-2014 and is a member of the State Board of Education.
Lee Burton, 12th District Chair
Burton is currently chairman of the Toombs County GOP. He graduated from Vidalia High School in 1988 and joined the Navy in 1991, becoming a Navy SEAL. After serving his country for 20 years as a sniper, an instructor, and a warrant officer, he returned to Vidalia. Burton ran for Georgia State House of Representatives District 156 in 2014.
Rich Thompson, 13th District Chair and School Choice Coalition Chair
Thompson is a nationally-known school choice advocate and leader. He serves as chairman of the Georgia Black Republican Council and vice-chair of the Fulton County Republican Party.
Jim Beck, 14th District Chair and Faith Outreach Coordinator
Beck and his wife Lucy live in Carroll County and attend Tabernacle Baptist Church in Carrollton. Jim has served in leadership positions on a number of statewide campaigns. Most recently, Jim served as chief of staff to Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. He is past president and current board chairman of the Georgia Christian Coalition.
Joe McCutchen, Georgia Radio Coordinator
Joe McCutchen has been the top radio caller in the country for the last 20 years. He is a small businessman and nationally-known radio host in Ellijay, Georgia.
Jan Horne, Georgia Visual Media Coordinator
Jan Horne is a member of the Coweta County GOP. She has run a production company since 1998 and currently uses those abilities to inform people in the political realm.
Teri Sasseville, Georgia Social Media Coordinator
Teri Sasseville is the founder of Georgians to Stop Common Core. After 2 ½ years of researching and raising awareness about Common Core and its impact on children with special needs and on early learners, through social media, Teri has developed an extensive network of bi-partisan advocates working to Stop Common Core in every state. Teri developed extensive Conservative social media networks, working as grassroots support for the Newt 2012 campaign.
Gail Engelhardt, Georgia Social Media Coordinator
Engelhardt became a political activist in 2009 and was amongst the millions who went to Washington, DC to rally against Obamacare. She became the President of the Bartow Tea Party Patriots and has volunteered on several local and state campaigns. Most recently she was active as a volunteer with the Barry Loudermilk campaign.
Austin Mathis, Georgia Students for Cruz Coordinator
Mathis is from Columbus and is currently a Political Science major at Georgia Southern University. Austin was the head intern in Muscogee County for David Perdue’s victorious Senate run. He was a delegate to the 2nd District convention in 2014. Austin was the founder and Chairman of Muscogee County’s first ever Teen Republican Party and was named 2015 Georgia Teen Republican of the Year.