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Georgia Republicans gather, hear from presidential hopefuls
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Republicans will hear from three White House hopefuls as the party gathers for its annual convention.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are scheduled to speak Friday. Christie also will be in Atlanta on Friday for a fundraiser.

Rubio and Cruz are among the party's official presidential candidates. Christie has not made his bid official, but is expected to run.

The appearances come as Georgia Republicans look to raise their profile in the 2016 nominating contest.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is pushing for Georgia and other Southern states to cast their primary ballots on March 1, following the traditional early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.