The candidate signs and campaign commercials have been popping up more frequently over the past few weeks, which means it’s time for part one of this year’s political drama to unfold.
Primary elections are Tuesday, July 20. While we aren’t endorsing anyone, we present this roundup of all the candidates in hopes that it helps you decide who to support when you make your voice heard at the polls.
As of July 2, there had been over 1,200 early votes cast (668 Republican and 593 Democrat), but if you’re holding out for the big day. here’s some information to help you choose from among this year’s crowded field of candidates.
There’s no shortage of people who want to take over for Sonny...
Jeff Chapman (R) – As a free market loving State Senator repping the 3rd District, Chapman made a name for himself with a scathing editorial against the deal between the Jekyll Island Authority and Linger Longer.
Nathan Deal (R) – Deal was added to the list of corrupt politicians by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington after he preserved a lucrative no–bid contract for his business that earned him more than $150,000 in state tax dollars.
Karen Handel (R) – The former Secretary of State has spent a lot of time battling attacks from Deal for her alleged membership with the pro–gay Log Cabin Republicans several years ago. She’s passionate about illegal immigration. Receiving a late Sarah Palin endorsement would seem to be a huge bonus for her.
Eric Johnson (R) – The hometown favorite wants to improve public safety and stop illegal immigrants from attending in–state colleges, but can he get past ethics charges stemming from his failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars he made from state contracts with his firm?
Ray McBerry (R) – McBerry is a Pro–Life Constitutionalist who supports the Second Amendment and touts his past as an educator on his website. What he doesn’t mention is that he resigned from a teaching job after an inappropriate relationship with a female high school student.
John Oxendine (R) – Opponents of the former Insurance Commissioner call him “Georgia’s Blagojevich” and it’s been reported he’s accepted over $120,000 in illegal campaign contributions.
Otis Putnam (R) – His website says “Regular Guy Runs for Governor.” Putnam has been an employee of Wal–Mart in Brunswick for the last 13 years; is a direct descendant of the Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam; and believes that we need to put prayer back in public schools.
Thurbert Baker (D) – The Attorney General opposed Sonny’s plan to sue the federal government over Healthcare Reform and wants to use proceeds from electronic bingo to fund education initiatives.
Roy Barnes (D) – If Roy’s name looks familiar it’s because he was Governor once already. He’s running TV ads saying that the state can’t recruit new jobs if everyone is laughing at us for being backwards. Um, thanks?
Bill Bolton (D) – Bolton has run for Mayor of Marietta twice as a Libertarian and this is his third run in the primary for Governor as a Dem. He’s pro–public transportation, wants to protect civil liberties and fight tax loopholes.
Carl Camon (D) – The Mayor of Ray City, Camon shares something besides experience as a teacher with Republican Ray McBerry – allegations of misappropriate behavior with female students.
Randal Mangham (D) – The State Representative is an attorney who last year was found liable for $625,000 in legal malpractice damages and was also found to owe $11,000 in back taxes on two homes he owns. Paperwork is not his strong point apparently.
DuBose Porter (D) – This veteran state politician and newspaper man from Dublin started his campaign in tandem with his wife Carol, who is running for Lt. Governor. She’s doing better in the polls than he is, but he’s a staunch supporter of education.
David Poythress (D) – This former General served as the Secretary of State and the Labor Commissioner in Georgia, and he pledges not to accept his salary as Governor until the state’s unemployment rate is below seven percent.
Secretary of State
The job includes supervising elections and maintaining public records...
Brian Kemp (R) – He’s the incumbent, nominated by Sonny to replace Handel, but he’s got some opposition from within his party to keep the job.
Doug MacGinnitie (R) – Doug is running on a traditional conservative platform, and is particularly worried about the disenfranchisement of military members’ absentee ballots.
Gail Buckner (D) – She spent 18 years in the state Legislature and unlike some of her opponents, has no problem filing the necessary disclosure forms to run for office.
Gary Horlacher (D) – He gave himself a lie detector test and proudly announced that he passed, but not that he scored perfectly, so he only lies sometimes.
Michael Mills (D) – This public relations consultant is one of several candidates who failed to file the necessary financial disclosure forms after qualifying.
Angela Moore (D) – According to Moore’s website, the Secretary of State is not a “political office,” and says she’ll be the most “constructive” Secretary in GA history. Also didn’t file disclosure forms on time.
Georganna Sinkfield (D) – A 28 year veteran of the State House of Reps, she has some notable endorsements, but also failed to file the necessary disclosure forms after qualifying.
The attorney and legal advisor for the state...
Sam Olens (R) – The Atlanta–based attorney received the endorsement of Glenn Beck’s 9–12 Project network for his constitutionally conservative views.
Preston W. Smith (R) – The former State Senator wants to overturn “Obama–Care” and enforce illegal immigration laws more strictly.
Max Wood (R) – Wood supports Arizona’s immigration law, thinks health care reform encroaches on civil liberties and wants to protect the Second Amendment.
Ken Hodges (D) – The former Albany DA was sued last year over alleged misconduct in the handling of a questionable case against a man named Charles Rehberg.
Rob Teilhet (D) – He has an impressive list of endorsements from political and community leaders around the state. We know because his campaign sends more press releases than any other candidate in any other office.
State School Superintendent
The superintendent’s superintendent...
John D. Barge (R) – He’s an experienced teacher and won an award for excellence during his time as an Assistant Principal. He thinks cuts in Dept of Education spending will help solve problems.
Richard Woods (R) – With two decades of teaching experience at various levels, Woods feels there too much testing and “one–size fits all” educational practices.
Beth Farokhi (D) – With three decades of teaching experience, Farokhi must be a Dem because she thinks the arts are a crucial part of a well–rounded education.
Joe Martin (D) – According to SurveyUSA.com, Martin has a 10 point lead over the competition. He was inducted into the Georgia State Univ. Business Hall of Fame.
Brian Westlake (D) – A product of the public school system and a former Marine, Westlake is an award–winning high school social studies teacher.
U.S. Representative – District 12
The battle for Barrow’s seat...
Mike Horner (R) – This retired Air Force officer was inspired to run for office after attending a Tea Party rally in Washington D.C. He wants the “toothless Republicans” out.
Ray McKinney (R) – This self–made business man came in 2nd in the Republican primary last year. Will his campaign have what it takes this year?
Jeanne Seaver (R) – Seaver is successful local business woman with support from the Tea Party who wants to make history as the first U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia.
Carl Smith (R) – Smith spent so much time campaigning that he lost his Chief position with the Thunderbolt Fire Dept. He’s got the most endorsements from the Republican party.
John Barrow (D) – He’s survived some closely contested elections in the past, but his no–vote on healthcare reform angered some of his Democratic base.
Regina Thomas (D) – The former State Senator for the 2nd District, Thomas is definitely the underdog against Barrow, but voter dissatisfaction could work in her favor.
State Representative – District 163
Who will replace Burke Day to represent the Islands?
Ben Watson (R) – A doctor by trade, Watson will make health care a top priority; his pedigree as brother–in–law of the perennial incumbent Jack Kingston will help.
Joe Welch (R) – The brother of car magnate O.C., Joe is a business owner who wants to focus on cutting wasteful spending and improving funding for education and transportation.
Gary Wisenbaker (R) – The local lawyer was the first candidate to enter the race for Day’s seat, he’s got backing from Ron Stephens and Al St. Lawrence, among others.