Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski stood in front of a sold-out crowd in The Chattanoogan hotel's ballroom Thursday evening, touting the president's accomplishments and warning conservatives in the county to vote. The gathering was the largest in the history of Hamilton County's Lincoln Day Dinner — a fundraiser for the county's Republican Party. Approximately 500 people packed into the room's round dinner tables, with more on a waiting list hoping to get a seat.
The event comes on the eve of Tuesday's primary election, in which approximately 1,300 Republicans are on ballots statewide — more than double the amount who have ever run, said state Republican Party chairman Scott Golden. For the party's county chairwoman, it's a sign of the excitement of voters in the county.
"I think people are excited about our president, the Republican party and the fact that the candidates are here," event organizer and Hamilton County Republican Party chairwoman Marsha Yessick said. " We want our representatives to let President Trump know we are praying for him."
The event introduced potential voters to candidates. Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and gubernatorial candidates Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell and Bill Lee spoke, as did current local, state and federal leaders.
Lewandowski thanked Tennesseans for their support of the president and role in helping him win the 2016 presidential election.
However, he had a warning about the future of the party if conservatives don't vote in the upcoming elections.
"Historically, you see the party in power lose seats [in mid-term elections]," he said. "If that happens, we lose control of the House of Representatives. What does that mean? It means the impeachment proceedings of the president of the United States. That's what's at stake."
The former campaign manager has been traveling the world since the presidential election to speak about what he said has been a "historic" start to the presidency. He mentioned tax cuts, business development, the ongoing denuclearization of North Korea, deregulation and more.
The theme of the night was about the present and future of the local Republican Party: "Elect new Republicans but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold."
The ballroom was donned in silver and gold, matching the theme, as was Yessick's fashionable dress. Conservative leaders chatted throughout, eating dinner and listening to speeches.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. — whose seat is up for grabs after he announced he will retire at the end of his current term — was among those in attendance.
"This is my home, and these are my friends," Corker said. "You have all the gubernatorial candidates here, the senate candidate and a number of local officers. It happens to be right before the primary ends, so there's a lot of people here. There's a lot of people supporting all of these candidates."