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).
WASHINGTON—The House today passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act(AHCA). The bill repeals the individual and employer mandates of 2010’s Affordable Care Act as well as $1 trillion in Obamacare taxes.
Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement in response to the bill’s passage:
“For seven years, I have watched Obamacare afflict my neighbors with soaring insurance costs and narrowing health care options. Obamacare shattered the insurance market, and Americans now struggle first to afford insurance and then to find providers that accept it.
“Obamacare saddled businesses and individuals with mandates that robbed them of their freedom to choose health care options that make sense for them. Our families, our workers and our economy have born the weight of bureaucratized medicine for too long. The American Health Care Act removes that burden and demands compassion for both the healthy and vulnerable, the born and the unborn.
“I have seen the grief that Obamacare has brought to northeast Georgians and have worked for my entire tenure in Congress to repeal this destructive law. Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare, and the House voted to keep that promise today. I agree with the President’s call this week for us to repeal Obamacare now, and I look forward to the Senate’s getting to work on this crucial bill.”
Additionally, this legislation returns to states the flexibility they need to serve their communities. The AHCA provides more generous Medicaid reimbursements for elderly and disabled enrollees while Obamacare prioritized able-bodied individuals over disabled Americans by assigning proportionately more Medicaid dollars to the healthy. It establishes a federal invisible risk sharing program to stabilize insurance markets, lower premiums and protect individuals with pre-existing conditions.
The AHCA represents the first major entitlement reform in U.S. history by ending Medicaid’s expansion while shoring up the program for the disabled and elderly Americans it was meant to serve.
This legislation also defunds Planned Parenthood.