COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The heavy hitters of Georgia’s Democratic Party are gathering in Columbus this weekend for the state convention at the Trade Center.

About 1,300 party delegates, candidates, and supporters are expected for the event that will run all day Saturday.

Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia says these are the truest and bluest of the state’s Democrats.

“We are excited to be here in Columbus and to welcome more than a thousand delegates, elected officials, volunteers, and super voters to get ready to really kick off the season of elections to elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” she told News 3.

All of the marquee candidates up and down the ballot are here. Stacey Abrams, the gubernatorial candidate, Senator Raphael Warnock, and Congresswoman Nikema Williams are all scheduled to speak.

Williams is the party chairwoman and she says there is a reason the Democrats are gathering along the Chattahoochee River.

“We are intentional about where we are this weekend,” Williams told News 3. “No. 1, I was born here in Columbus and it’s like coming home for me. We are being intentional about organizing in every corner of every county. The Democratic Party of Georgia is not just focused on Metro Atlanta.”

And part of that means pushing for Congressman Sanford Bishop, who represents the 2nd Congressional District and is in a tight race with Republican Chris West.

“This area is so important to our victories up and down the ballot,” Williams said. “And re-electing Congressman Sanford Bishop and bringing him back to Washington.”

Even the Republicans are noticing the Democratic gathering in Columbus.

“Our condolences to the people of Columbus, who must witness Georgia Democrats celebrate turning an economic recovery into 40-year high inflation and a recession,” Garrison Douglas of the Republican National Committee told the AJC’s Greg Bluestein earlier this week.

9:30 a.m. —

Interview with Columbus state Rep. Carolyn Hugley prior to start of the convention.

10:30 a.m. — Live interview with Lt. Gov. Charlie Bailey. The Harris County native talks about the difference between himself and the Republican candidate Burt Jones.

Georgia Democrats talk about the diversity of the statewide ticket.

Here is the Republican response to the Democratic covention.

“After squandering an economic recovery, raising taxes on middle class Georgians and failing to tackle 40-year high inflation, the Georgia Democrat Party’s convention should double as a retirement party for Joe Biden’s best friends: Stacey Abrams, Raphael Warnock and Sanford Bishop.” – RNC Spokesperson Garrison Douglas