The jockeying to succeed term-limited Georgia Republican Party chief Sue Everhart will begin in earnest this weekend at a Columbus party confab, where former state Senator Chip Pearson will launch a bid for the 2013 chairmanship.

An open letter to party faithful on Pearson’s new campaign website reads in part:

Come 2013, our most important role will be electing the next Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. I will offer myself as a candidate for Chair of the Georgia Republican Party at our convention in 2013. Our strength as a majority party in Georgia comes from the grassroots. Always has and always will. With your help we will continue Sue Everhart’s proud tradition of grassroots leadership and build on her great successes.

With his bid underway, though, Pearson’s digital team — which scooped prime real estate,, for the launch — will need to turn its attention to a minor Google problem. It is by no measure the neologism that haunted former White House hopeful Rick Santorum, but “controversial” is never a welcomed description atop one’s search results.

Pearson forwent reelection in 2010 amid a transparency fight that rocked his campaign. But an opening exists for the senator to reclaim some moral authority with those who’ll elect the next chairman:

Pearson’s first test comes over the next two days. He’s chairman of the resolutions committee, which will decide whether to offer delegates a chance to rebuke fellow Republicans in the Legislature for their failure to take up ethics reform.

UPDATE: All for naught? “Pearson will get indicted before he gets it,” a regular face on the Capitol quips in an email to Tipsheet. Contributor Brandon Howell, himself a former leader in the Georgia College Republicans, is in Columbus for the gathering and will have more on the Pearson weather balloon.

– James Richardson