White County voters have plenty to decide for state and federal races in the upcoming general election.
County Elections Superintendent Garrison Baker anticipates turnout will be high, and he once again is encouraging people to cast ballots during the three weeks of early voting that begins Oct. 13.
“That will keep lines down [on election day],” he says.
Baker reminds voters they can view their specific sample ballot on the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page (www.mvp.sos.ga.gov). Voter registration status can also be checked through the website.
While some Georgia counties have contended with staff shortages for elections, Baker says that’s not the case here. He expects to use 70 poll workers and has more than that already trained, with about 30 more who have expressed interest in the jobs.
Highlighting contested races on the ballot will be the presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, along with bids for Congress and the state legislature.
Republican Stan Gunter of Blairsville and Democrat Dave Cooper of Clayton are running for the State House District 8 seat. Gunter is a retired Superior Court judge and former district attorney. Cooper is retired from the U.S. Army and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Republican Victor Anderson of Cornelia will face off with Democrat Nick Mitchell of Cleveland in the State House District 10 race. Anderson is co-owner of Anderson Carpet One Floor & Home and former Habersham County Board of Commissioners chairman. Mitchell is a student worker and chair of the Chair of the White County Democratic Committee.
Incumbent Republican Steve Gooch of Dahlonega is being challenged by June Krise of Sautee Nacoochee for the State Senate District 51 seat.
Gooch was first elected in 2010 and previously served as the sole commissioner for Lumpkin County. Krise has practiced over 30 years in the health care field as a registered professional nurse and currently serves as the 9th Congressional District Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Republican Andrew Clyde and Democrat Devin Pandy are seeking to succeed Doug Collins as 9th Congressional District reprsentative in the U.S. House. Clyde is a gun store owner and Navy veteran, and Pandy is an actor and Army veteran.
In a unique turn, both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats are up for election at the same time.
Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing challenges from Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel.
The other Senate race is a special election featuring 21 candidates. U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to succeed Johnny Isakson, who retired in December, citing health reasons, with three years remaining in his term.
The special election, a so-called “jungle primary,” includes multiple candidates from the same party.
Republicans on the ballot include Loeffler, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, Derrick Grayson, Annette Davis Jackson, A. Wayne Johnson and Kandiss Taylor.
Democrats running for the office include the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Deborah Jackson, Jamesia James, Tamara Johnson-Shealey, Matt Lieberman, Joy Felicia Slade, Ed Tarver and Richard Dien Winfield.
Other candidates include Libertarian Brian Slowinksi, independents Al Bartell, Allen Buckley, Michael Todd Greene and Valenica Stovall, the Green Party’s John “Green” Fortuin and write-in candidate Rod Mack.
If no candidate in the federal races wins more than half the vote, a runoff election would be held Jan. 5, 2021.
There are also races for two seats on the Georgia Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s public utilities such as electric and gas.
District 1 Republican incumbent Jason Shaw is being challenged by Democrat Robert G. Bryant and Libertarian Elizabeth Melton.
District 4 Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr. will be up against Democrat Daniel Blackman and Libertarian Nathan Wilson.
DATES TO REMEMBER
• Oct. 5 – Voter registration deadline
• Oct. 13 – Early voting begins*
• Oct. 24 – Saturday voting
• Nov. 3 – Election day
*This begins on a Tuesday since Columbus Day is observed as a county holiday. Early voting will be held at the White County Voter Registrar office at 1241 Helen Highway, Suite 210- A, in Cleveland.