BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – Georgia House District 8 Representative Matt Gurtler won re-election over challenger Mickey Cummings and the county referendum for the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) passed in last night’s primary election.
Gurtler, the Republican incumbent, took 5,965 overall votes (60.18 percent) across the district, which is comprised of Union, Towns, and Rabun counties as well as a portion of White County. His challenger, Cummings, garnered 3,947 district-wide votes for 39.82 percent overall.
However, in Union County, Cummings’ home county, the race was much tighter as Gurtler won with 2,458 votes (54.32 percent) over Cummings’ 2,067 votes (45.68 percent) in Union.
No Democrat qualified in the election to face Gurtler in November; therefore, Gurtler will remain as Union County’s state representative for another term of two years.
Another hotly contested vote was the county referendum on the one-cent ESPLOST. While two groups within the county held strongly opposing viewpoints on the need of this sales tax, the vote itself was not close. The referendum passed handily 3,753 votes to 1,635 (69.65 percent to 30.35 percent). The new ESPLOST will go into effect on July 1, 2018, and will continue for five years or until $21 million in revenue is generated, whichever comes first.
Other local races featured three seats on the Board of Education. In District 2, Republican incumbent Tony Hunter overcame challenger Joan Anderson, taking 2,790 votes (68.07 percent) to Anderson’s 1,309 (31.93 percent). Hunter is unopposed in the November general election.
The District 4 race saw Republican incumbent Keith Potts defeat challengers John T. Strickland and William McQuillan. Potts took 2,599 votes (64.44 percent) to Strickland’s 808 (20.03 percent) and McQuillan’s 626 (15.52 percent). Potts is also unopposed in the November general election.
In District 5, incumbent Patrick White ran unopposed in the Republican primary and will also run unopposed in November as well. White took a total of 3,435 votes.
In other state-level races, runoff elections will be required to determine the Republican winners of the gubernatorial race, the race for lieutenant governor, and the race for secretary of state.
For governor, current Lt. Governor Casey Cagle will face current Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a runoff election July 24. Cagle took 39.01 percent of the statewide votes to Kemp’s 25.55 percent. The winner of this runoff will move on to face state Representative Stacey Abrams, who handily defeated fellow state Representative Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary. Abrams garnered 76.44 percent of the statewide Democratic votes to Evans’ 23.56 percent.
In the lieutenant governor’s election David Shafer will face Geoff Duncan in the July runoff for the Republican nomination. Shafer won 48.91 percent of the Republican votes statewide while Duncan received 26.65 percent. The winner of the runoff will face Democratic primary winner Sarah Riggs Amico in November.
The secretary of state’s race will also be decided in the July 24 runoff as Republicans Brad Raffensperger and David Belle Isle will meet for their’s party nod. Raffensperger took 34.98 percent of the Republican votes while Belle Isle took in 28.53 percent. The winner will face Democrat John Barrow in the fall general election.
Georgia state Senator Steve Gooch ran unopposed in the Republican primary and will be unopposed in the general election for Senate District 51. Gooch received 19,706 votes across the district.
On the federal level, U.S. House District 9 Representative Doug Collins ran unopposed in the Republican primary and received a total of 63,592 votes in the district – 3,775 of which were from Union County. Collins will continue to November when he will face Democrat Josh McCall in the general election. McCall defeated Dave Cooper in a tight race 6,936 votes (52.71 percent) to 6,224 (47.29 percent).
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – *These election results are unofficial until being certified by the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
2018 Union County Primary Election Results:
Board of Education District 2:
Joan Anderson (R) – 31.93% 1,309 votes
Tony Hunter (R) – 68.07% 2,790 votes Winner
Board of Education District 4:
William McQuillan (R) – 15.52% 626 votes
Keith Potts (R) – 64.44% 2,599 votes Winner
John T. Strickland (R) – 20.03% 808 votes
Board of Education District 5:
Patrick White (R) – 100.00% 3,435 votes Winner
Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST):
Yes: 69.65% 3,753 votes Winner
No: 30.35% 1,635 votes
Georgia House of Representative District 8
Matt Gurtler (R) – 60.18% 5,965 votes Winner
Results by County:
Union: 54.32% 2,458 votes
Towns: 66.41% 1,034 votes
Rabun: 62.75% 1,895 votes
White: 71.36% 578 votes
Mickey Cummings (R) – 39.82% 3,947 votes
Results by County:
Union: 45.68% 2,067 votes
Towns: 33.59% 523 votes
Rabun: 37.25% 1,125 votes
White: 28.64% 232 votes
2018 Georgia Primary Election Results
CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR:
Casey Cagle (R) – 39.01% 236,479 votes
Eddie Hayes (R) –
Hunter Hill (R) – 18.34% 111,199 votes
Brian Kemp (R) – 25.55% 154,894 votes
Clay Tippins (R) – 12.22% 74,047 votes
Marc Urbach (R) –
Michael Williams (R) – 4.87% 29,542 votes
Stacey Abrams (D) – 76.44% 422,509 votes
Stacey Evans (D) – 23.56% 130,241 votes
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:
Geoff Duncan (R) – 26.65% 145,849 votes
Rick Jeffares (R) – 24.44% 133,758 votes
David Shafer (R) – 48.91% 267,684 votes
Sarah Riggs Amico (D) – 55.28% 277,675 votes
Triana Arnold James (D) – 44.72% 224,638 votes
SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES:
David Belle Isle (R) – 28.53% 150,973 votes
Buzz Brockway (R) – 15.35% 81,251 votes
Josh McKoon (R) – 21.14% 111,881 votes
Brad Raffensperger (R) – 34.98% 185,087 votes
John Barrow (D) – 51.52% 263,958 votes
Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) – 29.51% 151,224 votes
R.J. Hadley (D) – 18.97% 97,194 votes
Smythe Duval (I) –
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
Jim Beck (R) – 59.69% 313,184 votes
Jay Florence (R) – 20.89% 109,629 votes
Tracy Jordan (R) – 19.42% 101,876 votes
Janice Laws (D) – 62.84% 302,119 votes
Cindy Zeldin (D) – 37.16% 178,677 votes
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
District 3 –
Chuck Eaton (R) – 100.00% 470,258 votes
Lindy Miller (D) – 65.46% 311,286 votes
John Noel (D) – 18.92% 89,955 votes
Johnny White (D) – 15.62% 74,263 votes
District 5 –
John Hitchins III (R) – 46.96% 247,460 votes
Tricia Pridemore (R) – 53.04% 279,510 votes
Dawn Randolph (D) – 78.59% 365,189 votes
Doug Stoner (D) – 21.41% 99,509 votes
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As the May 22 General Primary election draws near, state House District 8 challenger Mickey Cummings has launched what his opponent, Representative Matt Gurtler, described as a “smear campaign” by resorting to a barrage of published political attacks geared toward the incumbent’s voting record.
At a public speaking engagement April 27 in Hiawassee, Cummings said he had no intention of running a negative campaign.
In a paid advertisement, Cummings claims that Gurtler has “voted against our kids,” while asking, “Don’t our children deserve better?”
Cummings included Gurtler’s voting history, listing “no” to school safety funding, “no” to better training for school resource officers, and “no” to hundreds of thousands of dollars for our local schools.
Gurtler explained that the issues Cummings has chosen to highlight were lumped together within the “all-or-nothing” $26 billion state budget, which Gurtler has repeatedly described as “omnibus, riddled with subsidies, and wasteful spending.”
Gurtler believes the budget should be divided and departmentalized, with separate votes cast for each sector.
Gurtler says Cummings is cherry-picking segments embedded within the bloated budget, hoping to solicit an emotional response from voters.
“What you are seeing are typical establishment tactics, a blanket attack,” Gurtler told FetchYourNews (FYN). “This election is between me and the establishment. It shows just how deep the swamp goes. They don’t want a dissenting voice in the House. They want an ask-no-questions, yes-man.”
State House leaders, including House Speaker David Ralston, have poured a total of $13,700 into Cummings’ campaign thus far, with Cummings recently announcing a political rally scheduled for May 16, at the Union County Farmers Market, with sitting Governor Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston in attendance.
While negative campaigning is often considered “politics as usual,” it is unprecedented for an acting governor to endorse the opponent of an incumbent within his or her own party.
Time will tell whether Governor Deal’s decision to campaign for Cummings hinders or favors Gurtler’s re-election odds.
Cummings did not return FYN’s request for comment on campaign contributions, nor the upcoming rally.
A debate between the state House candidates will be aired live on FYNTV.com Tuesday, May 14, at 9 a.m.
FYN Chief Executive Officer Brian Pritchard will moderate the state House District 8 debate.
Count on continuing coverage as Election Day approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local State House challenger Mickey Cummings made an appearance at Sundance Grill Friday, April 27, 2018, at the Mountain Movers & Shakers forum. While Cummings never mentioned his opponent, Representative Matt Gurtler, by name, insinuation was apparent.
“I believe that public embarrassment and hostility toward our leaders is the wrong approach. Sooner or later, we’re going to need those people to help us to solve our issues and our problems,” Cummings professed. “I don’t believe we should ever burn a bridge unless we absolutely have to.”
Matt Gurtler was elected to the Georgia State House in 2016, and throughout his first-term while representing District 8 – which includes Towns, Union, Rabun, and portions of White County – Gurtler maintained a reputation of boldly challenging the status quo in the minds of his supporters.
The self-professed, ultra-conservative incumbent – a steadfast proponent of limited government, and a stickler for what he considers responsible spending – has proven to be a thorn in the side of leadership, voting against the State House at a rate of 39 percent.
Cummings, who currently holds office as Chairman of Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC), believes other avenues of negotiation should be explored “before you drop the bomb.”
Candidate Cummings briefly described his method of approach, using a conflict between BRMEMC and another unnamed electric co-op as an example: “We talked about it, and talked about it, and nothing ever happened. We called out the gentleman publicly, and we got what we wanted.”
In addition, Chairman Cummings spoke of the success of BRMEMC, stating that equity has increased by 3 percent since serving on the Board of Directors, at a spike of 1 percent per year.
“That’s unheard of in the electric co-op business to do that much,” said Cummings.
“Our Board has also improved transparency by opening board meetings to our membership. We’ve also become more responsive to our members and their needs,” Cummings stated.
FetchYourNews (FYN) attended the initial BRMEMC session, held Nov. 6, 2017, and reported the requirements for public attendance.
“I’m not a politician. I never planned to be,” Cummings said. “I believe the office should seek the candidate, and with people across the district asking me to run, to provide the leadership they deserve, I felt called to do so.”
Cummings spent 33 years as a county agent, 26 of which were spent in the mountains “working with farmers and saving the lives of youth through 4-H.”
“I’ve also helped to develop our farmer’s market that has helped to revive our vegetable industry, not only in Union County, but in Towns County as well. In 1990, we had roughly 30-to-35 growers in our county, growing specific vegetables,” Cummings explained. “By 2000, that number had decreased to five. Because of this decline was the death of older farmers, and their heirs found out that they could sell their property, develop the land, and make much more money than they could in farming.”
The creation of the Union County Farmers Market has allowed growers to profit locally, rather than venturing elsewhere to sell the fruits of their labor.
Along with continued support of agriculture, Cummings listed the establishment of widespread rural broadband internet access as a top issue he hopes to tackle if elected to represent District 8.
When the candidate was asked his position on the Second Amendment by a voter, Cummings divulged that he supports the right to bear arms, noting a history of gunsmiths in his ancestral lineage.
Incumbent Matt Gurtler is scheduled to address the Mountain Movers & Shakers in Hiawassee Friday, May 4.
Early voting begins Monday, April 30, with the primary election taking place May 22, 2018.
Count on FYN for continued coverage of District 8 State House race as the election approaches.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com