Republicans from Madison County and across West Tennessee gathered Saturday night at Union University to rally before Tuesday’s primary election.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was the keynote speaker at the Madison County Reagan Day Dinner in the Carl Grant Events Center on Union’s campus.
Jay Bush, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, which organizes the dinner around this time each year, said the dinner offers Republicans an opportunity to come together and celebrate their values, no matter which candidate they are supporting for the primary election.
“This is a time when active Republicans can get together and get excited about the upcoming elections,” he said. “The Madison County Republican Party does not endorse a candidate in the primary election but raises money to support local Republican candidates.”
When Corker took the stage, he commended local Republican Party members and said he was thankful they chose him to represent them in Washington.
He spoke about the upcoming primary election, what he believed Republicans should do and what he thought they should not do.
Several times Corker referred to the debt amassed by President Barack Obama during his time in office, and he argued that Obama is determined to increase the size of government with disregard to the wishes of the public.
“I respect the office of the president,” Corker said. “I just wish the president respected the Constitution.”
He said any of the current Republican candidates would be a better alternative to the president because he believed they would work to grow the private sector and reduce debt.
“Let’s champion earned success,” he said. “Let’s not let this nation drift into a place where we reward mediocrity.”
In addition to Corker’s speech, surrogates spoke on behalf of each of the current Republican presidential candidates — Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
The Madison County Republican Party also presented a Republican Lifetime Achievement Award to John D. Graham, a former Madison County commissioner and Jackson city councilman.
Seating for the event was divided into “gold-sponsored” tables at $500, “silver-sponsored” tables at $300 and individual seating at $40.