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Rep. Houston Gaines Tells Oconee GOP How to Beat DA Deborah Gonzalez

State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens).

State Representative Houston Gaines has told Oconee County Republicans that they have to reach out to people they don’t ordinarily talk to if they want to defeat Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez at the ballot box next year.

That outreach includes to people who never attend Republican party meetings, to Independents, to Democrats, to students at the University of Georgia, Gaines, a Republican, said.

“What we’ve got to do in this room is start making sure we are ready to defeat her, whether it is in the Democratic primary or the general election,” Gaines said.

Gaines said the ballot box was one of three ways of removing Gonzalez from office, the others being through legal action and through action of the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission.

The General Assembly created the Qualifications Commission earlier this year with sponsorship by Gaines, and the Commission will begin accepting complaints from citizens on Oct. 1.

Gaines also told the Republicans that Gonzalez is receiving campaign funding from outside the state and he “hopes we might get some legislation moved in the next year” that would limit the amount of funding a candidate can receive from out-of-state sources.

Gaines didn’t say what level of out-of-state funding he would find acceptable, but his own campaign finance statement show that he received 21.4% of the $50,700 he raised since the first of the year from out of state, while Gonzalez received 16.2% of the $10,972 she raised during that period from non Georgia sources.

Gaines made these comments about removing Gonzalez from office to the Oconee County Republican Party in a meeting open to the public in July. In August, the party met in a “Grass Roots Planning Session” open only to party members.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.