Blog Topic: Raging Election

  • In the Loop: Kelly Girtz Is Finally Officially Running for Mayor, Almost

    Girtz medicaid protest.jpg

    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Commissioner Kelly Girtz speaks at a rally to expand Medicaid in 2015.

    Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz has already told Flagpole, the Banner-Herald and WXAG 1470 AM, among others, that he plans to run for mayor in 2018, but he hasn't done much, you know, actual campaigning. That will change soon.

    Girtz announced a campaign kickoff event this morning, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m.–noon at the Lyndon House Arts Center. 

    "We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” Girtz said in a news release. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”


  • In the Loop: Kemp Hits Back at Abrams' Voter Suppression Jab


    Secretary of State Brian Kemp's feud with House Minority Leader and Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams continued this week after Abrams accused Kemp of voter suppression at an Athens campaign rally.

    For Kemp, "voter suppression is a way of life," Abrams said Saturday, criticizing Georgia's aging electronic voting machines and photo-ID requirement.

    Monday, Kemp released a statement in response to the AJC's summary of Flagpole article:


  • In the Loop: Democratic Candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams Talks Saving HOPE, Voter Suppression at Athens Rally

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    Photo Credit: Richard Hamm

    House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams smiles during a speech at Pulaski Heights BBQ on Saturday.

    In 2011, when Republicans voted to cut the HOPE Scholarship that, until then, had provided free college tuition to every Georgia high-school student with a B average, they had help from an unlikely place: Stacey Abrams, the highest-ranking Democrat in the state House.

    Abrams made an agreement with Gov. Nathan Deal that, if he removed a provision tying HOPE to test scores and included low-interest loans for students who would no longer have their full tuition covered by HOPE, she’d back the bill. The move split her caucus, and could come back to bite her as she runs for governor. One of those who criticized her actions was state Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna), who’s now her opponent in the May 2018 primary.

    “The argument that we should let the HOPE Scholarship die so we could use it as a political tool four years later is absurd, because students don’t have the luxury of a do-over, especially four-year-olds who’d lose access to pre-K,” said Abrams (D-Atlanta).


  • In the Loop: Doug McKillip and Houston Gaines Are Running for State House


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Houston Gaines.

    Two familiar faces in local politics will vie for an Athens seat in the state House of Representatives.

    Houston Gaines—the grandson of the late Judge Joseph Gaines, Mayor Nancy Denson's campaign manager in 2014 and last year's UGA Student Government Association president—announced his candidacy this morning for the District 117 seat. Flagpole profiled him three years ago.

    Gaines said in a news release that he is running as a "new, conservative voice."


  • In the Loop: Athens Lawyer Announces Mayoral Candidacy


    Samuel Thomas web.jpeg

    Samuel Thomas.

    Another candidate has stepped forward to run for Athens-Clarke County mayor: Samuel Thomas, a lawyer and Athens native. Thomas is a political newcomer, although he comes from a political family—his grandfather ran for mayor in the 1970s, and his father ran for mayor of nearby Crawford.

    Thomas grew up on the Eastside and in Oglethorpe County, left to attend law school at the University of Alabama, then returned to open a family law practice in 2012.


  • In the Loop: Athens Protesters, Congressional Candidates Rail Against Republican Health Care Plan

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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele

    A protest against Senate Republicans' health care bill drew more than 100 people to the Arch Monday evening, as well as two potential challengers to U.S. Rep. Jody Hice.


  • In the Loop: Democrat Says She'll Run Against Rep. Jody Hice

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Chalis Montgomery speaks at the Oconee Democrats meeting June 20.

    Chalis Montgomery, a musician and music educator from Barrow County, told the Oconee County Democratic Party Tuesday night that she intends to announce her candidacy for the 10th Congressional District seat and is seeking help in forming her campaign committee.

    Montgomery said she was motivated to challenge incumbent Republican Jody Hice in part because of her 7-year-old daughter, who has rheumatoid arthritis.

    She said she anticipated losses in her life, but “I never thought I’d look at losing the future for my child, or her friends, or my community.”


  • In the Loop: Athens Democrat Will Run for State House

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    A screenshot from Deborah Gonzalez's website.

    Deborah Gonzalez, an Athens attorney, has announced that she will seek the Democratic Party nomination for Georgia House District 117, which includes three Oconee County precincts.

    Regina Quick, a Republican, currently represents the 117th in the Georgia House of Representatives. Quick, also an Athens attorney, has not said if she intends to seek re-election in 2018.

    Gonzalez officially launched her campaign at Bishop Park in Athens on Saturday.


  • In the Loop: GOP State Rep: Athens Democrats Are 'Fired Up'

    chuck williams web.jpg

    Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville).

    Athens native Brian Kemp, seeking the Republican Party nomination in the 2018 gubernatorial election, told a gathering of Oconee County Republicans late last month that his experience as a small business owner sets him apart in the campaign.

    “I have been a conservative, small business owner for over 30 years,” Kemp, who currently is secretary of state, said. He said he is seeking the governor's office to “take that small-business owner’s mentality and be the next CEO of the state.”

    Kemp said he wants to reform state government, strengthen rural Georgia, do tax and regulatory reform and provide health care for those in Georgia who are here legally.


  • In the Loop: Clarke School Board Member Ovita Thornton Will Run for ACC Commission

    Clarke County Board of Education member Ovita Thornton will run for Athens-Clarke County Commission in District 9, she announced today.

    Thornton is serving her fourth term on the BOE representing District 9, which does not exactly correspond to Commission District 9, but covers much of the same territory in northern Clarke County. She has lived on Fowler Drive for 34 years.

    She is also executive director of the Georgia Clients Council, a nonprofit whose mission is "empowering low income people through education and training to create positive changes in their lives and in their communities."


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