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.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com
Blue Ridge, Ga. – Brad Raffensperger has defeated David Belle Isle in the July Runoff Election.
Raffensperger and Belle Isle vied for the Republican nomination to seek the seat of Georgia Secretary of State. The Secretary of State seat is open with no incumbent as current Secretary of State Brian Kemp moves forward in the gubernatorial race.
With all 159 counties reporting, Raffensperger was able to receive 61.76 percent of the vote while Belle Isle fell short only receiving 38.24 percent.
Raffensperger will move forward to the November General Election where he will face Democratic nominee John Barrow.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – Geoff Duncan narrowly beats out David Shafer in the July Runoff Election.
In what was by far the closest race to take place during the runoff, Duncan beat out Shaffer by a mere 1672 votes. In some precincts across the state this race showed wins by a margin of only 2 votes.
Duncan and Shafer vied for the Republican nomination to seek the seat of Georgia Lt. Governor. The Lt. Governor seat is open with no incumbent as current Lt. Governor Casey Cagle chose to throw his name in the hat for the Republican nomination in the gubernatorial race.
With all 159 counties reporting, Duncan was able to receive 50.15 percent of the vote while Shafer fell short receiving 49.85 percent.
Duncan will move forward to the November General Election where he will face Democratic nominee Sarah Riggs Amico.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – David Cooper will face off against Josh McCall for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat Democratic nomination. The winner of the May General Primary will then run against Republican incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the November General Election.
Collins has held the Georgia 9th Congressional District seat since 2013.
Cooper stopped by the Fannin County Democratic meeting to share with Fannin County residents why he feels that he is the best man for the job.
“I am soldier. I have served in the forces that have guarded this country and our way of life, and I am prepared to serve again,” Cooper introduced himself.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, Cooper has also had a career working various levels of government and is currently retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During his employment with the EPA, Cooper worked in hazardous waste clean up and also worked in commercializing green options, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.
Because of his background, Cooper feels that he can reach a wide audience: “I speak the language of patriotism and sacrifice. I speak the language of compassion and selfless service. I speak the language of public participation, cost effective regulation and legislation.”
“It is not about giving a speech. It’s not about making a list of here’s my issues, and wouldn’t it be cool if we could do these things. That is what every politician is taught to do,” Cooper said, explaining he wants to see real accomplishments.
“I am an unconventional candidate, and I will be running an unconventional campaign,” Cooper noted, adding that unlike his opponent, McCall, he would in fact seek to sway Republican voters. “I have the skills and experience to have those conversations.”
Cooper is convinced that there is no such thing as a single-issue voter and is confident that he can find common ground and common values among all residents of Georgia’s 9th District.
Cooper summarized his beliefs and his platform into three key elements, with the first being a need to “save democracy”. He feels this can be accomplished by stopping fake news, ensuring clean elections, and implementing term limits.
His second stance is to “protect what we hold dear.” Cooper cited a few areas that deserve our attention and care, with these being social security, medicare, women’s rights, the environment, veterans, and small businesses.
Cooper labeled his final stance as “progress for the future.” He would like to see steps made toward universal health care, common sense gun control, clean energy, fair taxes and affordable education.
“Not free education,” Cooper pointed out, “until we can get healthcare for everybody, don’t talk to me about free education.”
Locally, Cooper would like to work to support small businesses, citing that they are uniquely numerous in our area due to the tourism industry. He feels that one way to promote this would be to “energize the Small Business Administration to do more to support and provide more outreach.”
“That’s how we keep the Georgia 9th vibrant, keep these small businesses going,” Cooper added.
“Collins should not be making rules for anyone,” Cooper spoke of his Republican opponent. “His loyalties are not with the people.”
In the General Primary, Cooper said the focus should not be about himself running against McCall, but instead he advised the crowd, “You need to pick the person who can beat Doug Collins and who has a plan.”
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Josh McCall hopes to receive the Democratic nomination in the race for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat.
This seat is currently held by incumbent Congressman Doug Collins. Collins has been Georgia’s 9th District representative since 2013.
McCall has been traveling the district during his campaign, and made a stop at the Fannin County Democratic meeting to discuss with residents why he should represent our district.
Tired of hearing negativity in politics and disagreeing with many of today’s political moves, McCall stated that it had gotten to the point where he dreaded looking at his phone to get the latest news.
“Inevitably, as though it is some kind of force of fate, I do open my phone because I do care about my country and I want to know what’s happening,” McCall added.
Criticizing the Republicans, McCall referred to the party’s Debt Clock: “because everything that goes into feeding the poor people, those Republicans are putting it on the clock.”
“They just passed a bill handing over the fortunes of our children that was supposed to go into green infrastructure and the educational facilities of tomorrow,” McCall spoke of the party’s hypocrisy, “and it went into the pockets of billionaires.”
McCall added, “Let me tell you the red letters of our (Democrats) debt clock. They are written in the blood of students who died at Parkland. They’re written in the blood of the children who died daily from gun violence in this nation, which is breaking out like an epidemic.”
According to McCall Republicans used to care about urgent matters such as the National Debt and what is being left to the nation’s children, but their concerns have since shifted.
McCall wants to see focus put on healthcare and the costs related to this field, stating, “Those are the threats that are really facing us. You deserve life and you deserve health.”
“It is my fundamental belief that nobody should die because they are poor, and that nobody should be poor because they are dying,” McCall reiterated his passion to see meaningful change.
On national matters, McCall would like to see corporations “put on check” for environmental damage, and for lobbyists and organizations to have less of a hold on our government, citing that NRA (National Rifle Association) money is what stops real change to gun control.
“We are in too many nations right,” McCall said stating that we should pull forces out and invest at home,”There is not a single nation with a possible exception of Korea, that is any better off than it was before we invaded it.”
McCall would like to form a Public Service Coalition to serve at home and focus on social needs. The Civil Conservation Corp. could provide services such as taking care of the elderly in their homes and aid in environmental protection and clean up in exchange for scholarships to colleges.
For a two year term, McCall suggests, participants could receive a two-year technical degree scholarship, and for a four-year term, participants could receive a scholarship for a four year Bachelor’s Degree.
McCall switched gears to speak of his stance on the Second Amendment, “I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. The problem is the NRA does not. They only believe in that second part that makes them money.”
Citing that no one is safe in any public space in today’s climate, McCall emphasized that there is need for a well regulated militia.
“If they are law abiding citizens of sound mind, I want them to have that bolt action rifle. Their hunting rifle,” McCall stated, but also explained that there needs to be meaningful change.
One simple solution that he felt could have a lasting impact would be to have a 10 bullet limit on magazines, and outlaw removable clips. Other solutions would be to have gun owners secure weapons in their homes to keep them away from children. McCall stated that Georgia was number one in the nation for toddlers to die of gun related deaths.
“I don’t believe in confiscation,” McCall made very clear if new reform were to pass.
Locally McCall would like to focus on infrastructure in the 9th District, and have improvements to infrastructure done by people trained in our area.
If McCall were to receive the Democratic nomination, he spoke of where he differs from his Republican opponent Doug Collins.
“I believe that Doug Collins is most vulnerable in his complacency,” McCall stated and added that this election year Collins cannot ignore the Democratic party.
“Compassion and cooperation are the center pieces of my campaign,” McCall said and then added, “That is where he is vulnerable, he has not a compassionate or cooperative bone in his body, and that is our strength.”
McCall concluded by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper? My answer to that is a resounding yes. This race is truly not about me. I have faith in the people of the 9th District.”
(Martin, Georgia) – Monday, January 22nd, the statewide Georgia affiliate of Our Revolution, the organization created to continue pushing the policy goals of the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, endorsed Joshua McCall in his bid to unseat Congressman Doug Collins in the Georgia 9th Congressional District. His candidacy will now be passed up to the national organization for consideration.
“I’m running for congress for two reasons. First, Bernie Sanders’ grassroots organization inspired me to examine what forces were limiting political possibilities in our country. I realized, unfortunately, that many of those forces were in the party that I belonged to,” said Candidate Joshua McCall.
He continued, “I’m also running because parts of our government are dangerously close to fascism. Branches of it prey on racial fears and offer simple solutions through state violence. I am running not only to unseat Doug Collins, but in the process speak to the people of this district and unite them behind a Christian and humanist ethic.”
McCall joins Savannah based candidate Lisa Ring as the only currently endorsed congressional candidates in the state. The endorsement includes volunteer coordination and the possibility of national endorsement and fundraising.
Our Revolution Georgia State Committee Member, Vice President of the Young Democrats of Georgia, Hall County Board of Elections Member, and former candidate for State House Michelle Sanchez Jones said of the endorsement, “the Republican Party has purported to represent North Georgia for a generation now, and, outside of the Governor’s backyard, we deserve more from our government. Our hospitals need more money. Our classrooms need more teachers. We need the tools to help those struggling with opioid addiction. The burden of supporting our communities falls disproportionately on our churches and faith institutions. It’s time we got our money’s worth from Washington, and Joshua McCall is exactly the man to help make that happen.”
Background: Consideration of endorsement by the national organization requires prior endorsement from a local affiliate. Our Revolution has numerous affiliates throughout the state whose leadership jointly approve endorsements – with deference given to the chapter closest to the district in question. McCall’s endorsement represents the agreement of affiliates and leadership from Savannah to Atlanta, Athens to Henry County.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Democrat Josh McCall, who has announced his intention to run against 9th District Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in 2018, hosted a Town Hall meeting in the Gainesville Civic Center Ballroom Thursday.
An audience estimated to be about 150 attended the event that featured a panel of health care experts including, UGA Foundation Professor of Human Health Dr. Phaedra Corso, Dr. Gale Starich, Dean of Brenau’s College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Rebecca Quigg, a practicing physician and former Congressional candidate in Georgia’s 6th District.
The meeting came on the heels of the U.S. House passing the American Health Care Act that replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. It now moves to the Senate where lawmakers have a chance to write their own version. Collins voted in favor of the new bill.
As a backdrop to last night’s meeting, the Associated Press has reported that consumers will be hit with another round of price hikes and limited choices next year on the market places established by Obamacare as insurance providers continue to exit the marketplace. Major insurers like Aetna and Humana have already dropped out, leading to forecasts of up to a 50 percent increase in premiums in 2018. The ACA was intended to keep prices low by increasing competition.
McCall has staked out a very different position than Collins on the health care issue. He strongly supports government health care and he doubled down on that position at Thursday’s meeting, declaring, “I do support single payer unabashedly. I believe every person has a right to live. Nobody should have to worry about getting sick and losing everything they own.”
In her presentation, Corso said, “Despite the fact that we’re spending so much money on health care, we are not having better health care outcomes than other countries.”
She outlined the elements of the Obamacare she said Republicans want to change, including individual mandates, expansion of Medicaid, (which she called “free federal money,” that only lasts 10 years before states must pick up the entire cost), employee mandates that require employers with 50 or more employees to pay for health care and exchanges, which the Supreme Court ruled could not be made mandatory.
Corso reminded the audience of Obama’s promise that if you like your health insurance you can keep your insurance, which turned out to be a lie. She seemed to excuse his statement by saying, “They had crappy insurance. They thought they had coverage when they didn’t have coverage for anything worthwhile.”
One of the panelists, Jennifer LaRose, spoke about her personal experience with health care. Her son Logan, now 15 months old, was born with two medical abnormalities that required three surgeries by the time he was six months old.
“In a situation like ours, parents should be able to focus on their child not their finances,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to resort to asking friends and family for charity.”
LaRose said her family has benefited from the cap that ACA placed on out-of-pocket expenses. “The maximum for our family was $7,500 and we met that the month Logan was born,” she said.
She said she isn’t certain if she believes in single payer insurance or not but added there are a lot of “what-ifs” with the new legislation. “We can’t afford what-ifs. My feeling about health care is it should be affordable and available to everyone.”
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Qualifying is still a year away and there is the matter of paying the $5,000 qualifying fee, but Democrat Josh McCall says he will campaign for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s Ninth District during the 2018 election.
The 36-year-old McCall, a teacher at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, has never run for public office. His opponent will be veteran Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) who will be seeking his fourth term.
McCall does possess the wide-eyed optimism of a newcomer in the political arena.
“I actually do think I have a chance to win because the (political) winds are shifting faster than they ever have before,” McCall said during a sit-down interview with Fetch Your News.
“It has to do with the inequality in our financial structures. The way they are set up, certain of our financial institutions are international in scope. They hold a lot of the world’s capital and they’re hoarding it. Change is going to happen because the people at the bottom are going to keep getting fed up and may actually do something about it.”
McCall acknowledged that he is starting at a huge fundraising deficit.
“Mr. Collins has about $1.8 million in his coffers waiting to be spent but I don’t think money is having as big an influence anymore. There is social media, Twitter and Facebook,” McCall said. “We saw that Donald Trump didn’t spend nearly as much as Hillary Clinton did and her spending turned out to be a weakness for her.”
McCall admits the Democrat Party is in disarray “A lot of people have looked at the election of Donald Trump as a great disaster, and in a lot of ways it was for a lot of people,” he said. “But, in a different way, maybe it’s good that the Democratic Party was laid waste. Now, people who have real democratic principles, who actually believe in the equality of every single person can actually come up from the bottom. I believe that this is a really golden moment in history if the Democratic Party wants to become a party again.”
The following represents Mr. McCall’s views on a wide variety of issues, including Obamacare which he called a “complete disaster.”
On Obamacare, he said:
“I believe there was a ticking time bomb embedded in Obamacare from the beginning. Kaiser Permanente, one of the biggest donors to the Obama campaign wanted a return on their investment. Forcing Americans to pay into a for-profit system was always going to be a disaster. Government should not be telling you that you have to pay for insurance.”
On Government-Funded Universal Healthcare, he said:
“If we had a National American Health Service, and got rid of some of the middle men like the pharmaceutical companies who get to set their own rates that would be better. Healthcare companies that put a price tag on peoples’ lives are not only economically wrong, but morally wrong. I would work toward getting guaranteed universal access to life-saving healthcare for every single American man, woman and child without exception.”
On immigration, he said:
“There has to be reform, but it has to be humane and economical. We need to offer people who have worked here for five years in an honorable trade, have no criminal record, and have been good citizens, a path to citizenship. It is wrong to break up families who have been here for decades and committed no crimes. I believe the current system is unjust. You know they’re not going to stop people like you and I. They’re going to stop people with a different skin color or different accent.”
On sanctuary cities, he said:
“Nobody knows better the risks involved in those cities than those who run the cities. I do believe it is federal government overreach to threaten to withhold federal funding. So I would not support that.”
On jobs, he said:
“Government not only saves jobs, it creates jobs. One thing I would do is get rid of standardized testing. A lot of good technical programs are being cut because they don’t prepare students for the tests. I would offer students expanded technical and vocational programs based on the economy’s needs and we would need a federally-mandated program to do that. I would also increase infrastructure spending.”
On corporate taxes, he said:
“The 35 percent corporate tax rate is fiction. Most of the biggest companies don’t pay it. I would be fine with the 35 percent but they aren’t paying it like I do. They are hoarding the money overseas. I would work to write laws that keep people from hoarding it overseas.”
On Planned Parenthood, he said:
“I don’t believe in taxpayer funded abortion. The Hyde Amendment prohibits that. But only about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortions. I haven’t seen any evidence that federal tax money goes to pay for abortions. The part of Planned Parenthood we are funding is breast cancer screens, pregnancy testing and things like that. If we cut funding for Planned Parenthood, a lot of women will suffer.”
Georgia’s 9th Congressional District is located in the northeastern portion of the state and includes Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties. Parts of Clarke, Forsyth, and Pickens counties also lie within the district.