Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gilland Reports Raising Nearly $5,000 for Oconee County Commissioner Race

UGA Connection Helps

Tammy Tate Gilland confirmed her intention to run for Post 3 on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on April 1 when she filed a campaign contribution disclosure report indicating that she has raised $4,685 toward her campaign.

Though the first day to file for the office is April 26, Gilland has been accepting campaign contributions and was required to file the campaign contribution report.

Gilland listed $429 in expenses and a balance of $4,226 on hand. Most of the expenses were for stamps and office supplies.

Margaret Hale, who has held the Post 3 position since 2000, listed only $500 in contributions during the period covered--from the first of the year until the end of March--and indicated she has a balance in her campaign account of $223. She carried over $277 in unpaid expenses.

John Daniell, Post 2 commissioner, listed no contributions or expenses in his filing report. He said he has $54 on hand.

Hale and Daniell are the only two members of the five-person Commission up for election in the first election held since the county went to a split-term system. In 2008, Hale and Daniell were elected to two-year terms, rather than the usual four-year terms.

Hale and Daniell have indicated they plan to run for re-election. Daniell was elected to his first term in 2008.

Mack Guest, incumbent Post 2 Board of Education member, listed no income or expenses in his April 1 report. Guest indicated he is $1,206 in debt.

Kim Argo, incumbent Post 3 BOE member, also listed no income or expenditures and that she has a balance of $1,008 on hand.

Guest and Argo also were elected to two-year terms in 2008 in the first year the terms of the five BOE members had been staggered. For both, it was their first election to the Board, though Guest was serving out an unfinished term to which he had been appointed.

Gilland, a senior director in the Development Office at the University of Georgia, lists seven contributions of more than $100, totaling $2,000, and an additional $2,685 in contributions of $100 or less.

The largest single contributions were of $500 from Tom Landrum, the senior vice president of external affairs at UGA, and the same amount from Rhett and Julie Puder, listed as a psychologist and a physician on the report. Five of the seven contributions of more than $100 were from people listed as being affiliated with the University of Georgia.

Hale also works for the University of Georgia as an administrative specialist in the Library.

If Gilland files as a Republican, as is expected, she and Hale would meet in the Republican primary on July 20.

Hale, Daniell, Guest and Argo ran as Republicans in 2008.

The first opportunity for a candidate to file to run either as a Democrat or a Republic is at 9 a.m. on April 26 and the last opportunity is noon on April 30.

Since this is the first time Oconee County commissioners and BOE members have been elected in what normally would be an off-year, it is difficult to know how much attention and interest the election will generate.

Turnout for the 2008 primary was only 36 percent, but it was an even lower 24 percent in 2006, according to data released to me on Thursday by Pat Hayes, Oconee County director of elections.

In 2004, 40 percent of the registered voters turned out, but 42 percent voted in the July primary two years earlier.

In 2000, 45 percent of the registered electorate voted in the July primary, but it had been only 31 percent two years earlier.

Voters in Georgia do not register by party, so anyone can choose to participate in the primary.

My analysis of individual voting records for the 2008 July primary that I purchased from the Secretary of State’s office shows that 28 percent of those who chose to vote in the Democratic presidential primary in Oconee County in February of 2008 voted in the Republican primary in July of that same year.

Of those Oconee County voters who voted in the Democratic presidential primary in February, only 16 percent voted in the July Democratic primary, and the remainder didn’t vote.

Among Oconee County voters who voted in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, 62 percent voted in the July Republican primary. Less than 1 percent voted in the Democratic July primary, and the remainder didn’t vote.

Another way of looking at it is this: From among the nearly 6,333 Oconee County voters who case a ballot in the July 2008 Republican primary, 14 percent had cast a Democratic ballot in February.

Whether those “Democrats” will select a Democratic or a Republican ballot this year may be determined by the nature of other state and regional elections and by how much the candidates attempt to appeal across party lines. In 2008, there was little on the July Democratic primary ballot to encourage voters to select it.

Gilland lives at 1010 Hardwood court off Elder road near North High Shoals. Hale lives at 1901 Salem road south of Farmington.

Daniell lives at 1922 Elder road, or just north of Gilland.

Guest lives at 1070 Lake Wellbrook drive off Daniells Bridge road, and Argo lives at 1230 Bent Creek road near Hodges Mill road. Both are in the northern part of the county.

All members of the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education run at-large.

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