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Republican Candidate Houston Gaines Won’t Say Whether He’d Vote for Trump

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Donald Trump played a role in the candidate forum for the Nov. 7 special elections for House Districts 117 and 119 held Tuesday night at the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia, as he did in a forum last week.

In response to a question about Trump’s behavior as President, the three Republican candidates in the race for House District 119 strongly endorsed Trump, though Steven Strickland did say he had problems with 5 percent of what Trump does.

When Houston Gaines, running as the sole Republican in House District 117, was asked, if the 2016 election were tomorrow, would he vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton, he did not answer.

That produced a tense exchange with audience member Russell Edwards, an Athens attorney who is past chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.

Gaines criticized Edwards for Edwards’ role in removing Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson, a mentor of Gaines, from the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee because of her support of Gaines.

Neither Deborah Gonzalez, running as a Democrat in the 117th, nor Jonathan Wallace, running as a Democrat in the 119th, attended the forum, which had been organized by the Oconee County and Athens-Clarke County Republican parties in collaboration with the student government at the Oconee County campus.

Moderator Blake Giles told the audience of just less then 40 that the two Democratic candidates had cited scheduling conflicts in declining to attend.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.