History of the Houston County Republican Party
Adapted from the recollections of Barbara Waddle, a founding member of our group
Originally named the “Draft Goldwater” movement, the Houston County Republican Party was formed in the spring of 1964 when the first county meeting was held. Dr. Doyle Pratt organized the first county convention at the courthouse in Perry. Ted and Barbara Waddle joined soon after in 1965.
For several years, the county meetings were held in Ted and Barbara’s home, first on Green Street and then in their new house on Tanglewood Drive. Ted Waddle, one of the earliest chairmen of the fledgling group, stepped down in 1970 to run for State Representative for District 98 in Houston County. In 1983, this was changed to District 113, and has been changed several times since then.
Barbara was chairman of the party seven times in those early years. Five of those times came when the serving chair decided to step down in advance of the County Convention, leaving Barbara to plan and run the event. She finally told the group that if she was having to do all the work, they might as well “just elect me chairman to begin with.” And they did!
The first Precinct Mass Meetings were held in only about ten precincts. Barbara recalls that, on several occasions, the school where the Precinct Mass Meeting was to be held would be locked. Not to be deterred, the members would hold their meeting of nine delegates in their car in the parking lot. One precinct with a smaller delegate count actually met in a telephone booth. Barbara said, “We made do with what we had.”
Fifty four years later, the Houston County Republican Party is still going strong! Houston County now has over 80,000 people, making us one of the largest counties south of the Metro Atlanta area. We have Ted and Barbara Waddle and their can-do spirit to thank for the success of our county party!