It wasn't quite a revival meeting, but it didn't miss by much.
Republican National Committee members, normally not the most emotive group in the political firmament, stomped feet and loosed tentative rebel yells at their semiannual meeting today as the party's most recent trophies, seven Georgia Democrats-turned-Republican, were marched onto the stage.
"I have been coming to these meetings for a long time, and . . . I've never seen so much enthusiasm in the party," said Howard (Bo) Callaway, Colorado GOP chairman and a former secretary of the Army.
The RNC has made its top order of business this year "Operation Open Door," an effort to translate what it sees as the nation's conservative mood and President Reagan's popularity into a thorough, grass-roots political realignment.
The two-day session here has been a strictly good-news affair.
Members were cheered by survey data from GOP pollster Richard B. Wirthlin showing that Democrats lead Republicans in party identification by 44 to 41 percent.
They also applauded the screening of new television advertisements to begin Monday in four pilot states. The ads urge voters to get rid of "Walter Mondale and Teddy Kennedy . . . and the party of the past."
Members were tickled by the party-switchers' parade that is becoming a ritual at GOP gatherings.
"We're on the offensive," proclaimed GOP Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., who said the party would better its announced goal of registering 100,000 former Democratic voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Louisiana and Florida by Aug. 15.
Members were also courted by two Democrats, Gov. Joe Frank Harris and Mayor Andrew Young, who want the 1988 Republican National Convention in Atlanta. St. Louis, San Diego, Chicago and Miami have also made bids, and no decision is expected until 1987.
The seven party-switchers include six current or former local elected officials and have offered varied reasons for switching.
State Rep. Vinson Wall of Gwinnett, 30 miles north of Atlanta, said that his district went 65 percent for Reagan last year, that he has always been a conservative and believed in a strong defense and that the local GOP promised him "financial and volunteer help" for his reelection bid.
Former Democratic state representative Henrietta Canty of Atlanta said Democrats "drove me out" when the party endorsed Rep. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-Ga.) for reelection last year rather than her or another black candidate in Wyche's predominantly black district.
"They invite us in, give us chicken wings and Swedish meatballs but no real power," she said of the Democrats.
Callaway, who in 1966 narrowly lost a bid to become Georgia's only GOP governor in this century, recalled:
"In 1968, we got five state-elected officials to switch, and they all got beat. The difference today is that the enthusiasm is really genuine."
Last spring, three Democrats switched in Texas, Michigan and Massachusetts with plans to run for governor and created strains between the old guard and new.
In Texas, traditional Republicans are gathering around GOP Rep. Tom Loeffler, who has made clear that he does not plan to abandon his gubernatorial ambitions for new Republican Kent R. Hance, a former Democratic member of Congress.
"It's been a little bit of a problem but not as bad as I expected," Texas GOP Chairman George Strake said.