DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – On election eve, the stakes in the 2018 midterm election could not be higher. That was reflected in the record-setting turnout during the three-week, in-person, advanced voting session that saw 2.1 million Georgians cast their votes.
Here in Dawson County, interest was through the roof. Director of Elections and Registration Glenda Ferguson reported last week that 7,036 residents voted early.
At the top of the ballot is the race for Governor where conservative Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp faces liberal Democrat former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
The candidates could not be more different. Kemp opposes the expansion of Medicaid. Abrams supports expansion. Kemp wants to deport illegal immigrants and ban sanctuary cities. Abrams opposes clamping down on illegal immigration and wants to provide a pathway to citizenship. Kemp wants Georgia to have the toughest abortion restrictions in the U.S. Abrams opposes additional restrictions. Kemp wants to preserve the HOPE scholarship but opposes letting undocumented students access the scholarship. Abrams believes it should be available to all.
The third candidate in the race, Libertarian Ted Metz, could play the spoiler role. Pollsters say the race between Kemp and Abrams is razor thin and neither has crossed the 50 percent barrier that would prevent an unprecedented four-week runoff.
While the governor’s race has gained nationwide attention, there are other important races on the ballot.
Republican Geoff Duncan of Forsyth County and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico are running for lieutenant governor. The candidates for Secretary of State are Brad Raffensperger (R), John Barrow (R), and Smyth Duval (L).
The race for Attorney General is between Gary Black (R) and Fred Swann (D).
Incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Doug Collins faces a challenge from Democrat Josh McCall in the 9th District.
Also on the Dawson County ballot is the race between 7th District State Representative David Ralston (R) and Rick Day (D).
There are also five constitutional amendments for voters to decide and two statewide referenda.
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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Many words were used to describe Rick Day as he exited the Fannin County Democratic meeting on July 2: enthusiastic, informed, entertaining, and passionate.
Day, a 62 year old veteran, is the first from the Democratic party to ever challenge the Speaker of the House, David Ralston, for the seat of Georgia House of Representatives District 7.
One key issue of Day’s platform and arguably one that he shows the most passion for is his pro-cannabis stance and the benefits it could bring to North Georgia.
“Somewhere in the 70’s I discovered cannabis, marijuana, and it has been a lifelong love affair with Mary Jane,” Day said about his position.
According to Day, almost 700,000 people have been arrested for minor marijuana possession in Georgia since Ralston’s election to the seat of District 7 in 2002.
“This man is so powerful he could have changed this law,” Day said explaining his take on Ralston’s record. “He only cares about the for-profit prisons that lobby him.”
Day would like to see Georgia move beyond the limited laws passed recently in the state that increased medical marijuana use and see cannabis legalized for recreational use as well.
Stating statistics, Day said that approximately 85 percent of Georgians are in favor of medical marijuana, 70 percent of Republicans are in favor, and 65 percent of Georgians favor cannabis oil.
“If we wait another 10 years, the crops are not going to be worth anything near what it was because it’s going to be so common,” Day spoke of the economic impact of ending the war on marijuana.
Wanting to see both marijuana and hemp become major cash crops for the state of Georgia, Day spoke of the increased tax revenue that this legislation, if passed, would create; up to 1 billion in increased revenue. Day would like to see all citizens of North Georgia benefit from this wealth by using the new revenue to eliminate or dramatically decrease property taxes.
“Thousands of jobs, good, well paying jobs,” Day expanded on the benefits of this move. “Develop the area and work with it, so that it becomes part of our identity without overtaking us.”
“My vision is to turn this (North Georgia) into the Napa Valley of cannabis,” Day enthusiastically spoke of his hope.
Acknowledging other issues facing our area Day said, “There is a growing issue with lack of affordable housing in the district.”
With no shortage of half million dollar homes, Day says that it is very hard to find homes in the $150,000 range where there is an increasingly growing demand.
Offering grants and incentives for builders to construct these more affordable homes is a possible solution that Day sees on this issue.
When it comes to his Republican opponent, Day does not mince words: “Ralston is a con. A bought and paid for conservative. Conservatives are no longer the fiscal stewards they once were or ever represented themselves to be.”
Accusing Ralston of catering to the highest bidder, Day pointed out Ralston’s $400,000 yearly pension and using his position to get his son a lobbying job: “He’s their man. He’s not our man anymore.”
As for Ralston’s impact on his district, Day shared his thoughts on that as well. According to Day, Ralston is a man who holds a position of power in the state of Georgia: “Arguably the most powerful because he’s not tenured with term limits like the governor is, and he can’t even get us one manufacturing center up here. He’s done nothing for this district.”
“I can’t out spend David Ralston. He’s already got $1,000,000 in corporate money in the bank,” Day elaborated on his campaign plans. “I can’t make a lot of promises. I won’t have a lot of political power, but I ain’t David Ralston and I will never be that man.”
Day says that his political platform is simple. Having been shown a kindness when he was a young man, his philosophy is to pay it forward. His litmus test on every issue is “Is this going to be good for our kids? Is this going to be good for our grand-kids?”.
“I oppose the things that are not, and I embrace the things that are good,” Day said of this philosophy.
“I believe in myself and I want you to too,” Day spoke to those gathered to hear his message. “I’m done watching (politics). Now is the time for action. Now is the time to bring David Ralston home.”
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