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
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – The Union County Board of Education held its monthly work session and meeting Tuesday evening, March 20.
A resolution to adopt the Georgia Vision Project was discussed by Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield in the work session and later approved by the board in the regular meeting. As explained by Rayfield, the Georgia Vision Project was established five years ago by Georgia school superintendents, the Georgia School Board Association, business and industry leaders, and numerous educators “all coming together and saying, ‘Look, these are the areas that we think public education should focus on and focus on especially for improvement.’”
According to Rayfield, among those areas that the project recommends for school systems to include in strategic planning and school improvement plans are early learning and success, teaching and learning, teaching and learning resources, human and organizational capital, governance leadership and accountability, culture, climate and organizational efficiency, and financial resources.
Rayfield explained the project’s guidelines will put the school system in good position for its accreditation review next February and also its charter renewal, which will occur near the same time.
“The resolution says our board will include and does agree (with) all of the items that are listed there,” Rayfield stated, “and those recommendations are just that.”
“This is just a framework we can build on, is that correct?” Board member Tony Hunter asked Rayfield.
To this, Rayfield affirmed it was indeed a framework and added that consistency with school systems across the state has been an issue in the past.
The board also approved a board member code of ethics and conflict of interest compliance form for its members to sign. Rayfield explained since 2016, the BOE has had in place a code of ethics and conflict of interest policy, which resulted from state legislation. However, the superintendent stated a policy compliance form still needed to be implemented and signed by all BOE members for accreditation purposes.
The board also renewed its annual subcontract with Family Connection and the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Inc.
A final reading and adoption of a revised wellness policy for Cherokee County Schools was approved by the board Tuesday night. The revision, as Rayfield explained, is slight, changing the wording of one clause from “all food and beverages made available on campus during the school day shall be consistent with the minimum requirements of federal law” to “all food and beverages available for purchase …”
Several presentations and recognitions were made during the board meeting. The Board of Education itself was recognized and each member given a plaque for Board Appreciation Week, which was last week.
“Board members have a very thankless job,” Rayfield stated. “They have a tough job … They answer not only to the people in their district, but the people they work for, the people they go to church with, and the citizens of Union County.”
The Board of Education consists of District 1 member Janna Akins, District 2 member Tony Hunter, District 3 member and Chairperson Cynthia Odom, District 4 member Keith Potts and District 5 member and Vice Chairperson Patrick White.
Next, Rayfield presented two separate Partner in Education awards to Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, and to Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC).
Rayfield explained Piedmont College operates a cohort program in Union County and said, “We just appreciate having the very strong partnership with Piedmont College.”
Accepting the award from Piedmont College were Katherine Breithaupt, regional program coordinator, Tim Goss, director of off-campus graduate studies, and Don Gnecco, dean of School of Education.
BRMEMC was also recognized with a Partner in Education award. Rayfield explained crews from BRMEMC have helped with various utility issues at schools multiple times, including a Union County High School football game this past season when the field’s lights went off suddenly and crews from BRMEMC were on the scene within minutes.
“Many times, when we ask for those things we say (to BRMEMC), ‘Bill us or let us know what that costs,’ and they say, ‘Absolutely not, we’re just glad to do it,'” Rayfield said of BRMEMC willingness to help the school system.
Two Union County High School (UCHS) seniors, Emmi Schakat and Cole Wright, were recognized for having been accepted to West Point Military Academy.
“Congratulations to these two seniors for an outstanding honor and appointment to one of our military academies,” Rayfield stated.
UCHS Principal C.T. Hussion was also on hand to congratulate the high school’s Mock Trial team that recently participated in the state Mock Trial competition. Hussion announced that UCHS won the district for the third straight year. The principal explained unlike sports districts and regions across the state that group schools according to population, mock trial competitions involve schools of all sizes, public or private.
“They competed at the highest level, and you should be very proud,” Hussion said of the UCHS Mock Trial team.
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