Saturday, July 03, 2010

No Independents File for Oconee County Offices, Giving Two Republicans Automatic Reelection

Finances Reported Too

Oconee County Post 2 Commissioner John Daniell and Oconee County Board of Education Post 3 member Kim Argo will be unchallenged not only in the July 20 Republican primary but also in the general election in November, they learned yesterday.

No one filed as an independent to run against them–or anyone else in the county. Independent filing closed at noon on Friday.

Former Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Russell Lee, who had inquired about procedures for filing as an independent, did not do so in the end.

So the only choice that voters who ask for the Republican ballot on July 20 will have to make is between Tammy Gilland and incumbent Margaret Hale in the Post 3 BOC race and between incumbent Mack Guest and Mark Thomas in the Post 2 BOE race.

Democrats will have only the name of Carter Strickland before them at the local level. Strickland has filed to run for the Post 2 BOE slot, but he will have no competition in the Democratic primary.

Local Republicans also will get to select from among three candidates for the 113th District Seat in the Georgia House, being vacated by the retirement of Bob Smith. Hank Huckaby, Tommy Malcom and Kirk Shook are running for that slot. Oconee County makes up the majority of that district.

Suzy Compere will be on the Democratic July 20 primary ballot for that House seat, but she will be unopposed.

As of 4:45 p.m. Friday, 414 voters had cast their ballots in early voting, which was in its fourth week. The figure had been 301 by the end of the previous week and 198 at the end of the second week. In the first week, 129 persons voted.

In the July 2008 primaries, 6,989 persons voted. In July of 2006, only 4,145 voted. In July of 2004, 6,130 voted.

In 2008, the BOC and BOE designated the Post 2 and Post 3 slots as having terms of only two years to move toward staggered terms of board members. So the 2006 figure are probably closer to what can be expected in terms of turnout this year.

On Wednesday, the candidates filed their campaign financial statements, and Gilland reported taking in $13,080 since January and spending $10,504. In addition, she reported $980 of in-kind contributions. She had reported having taken in $4,685 in the first three months of the year.

Gilland’s contributions included a loan of $2,087 she made to herself and $4,408 in contributions of less than $100, which are not reported by name.

She received $350 from Greg Daniels, $250 from Tim and Carla Burgess, and $250 from Martee and Foy Horne, all from UGA, and $250 from Scott and Beth Norris of Motel Enterprises. Gilland’s early money also came from UGA personnel.

Hale reported raising only $7,736 for the year, and $5,836 of that had been raised before the second quarter filing period. Hale reported spending $7,406. She listed only one contribution of more than $100. That was from Jay Staines of Staines Properties, who gave $150

Guest reported raising $5,121, all in the last three months, and spending $3,048. Guest reported receiving $500 from Jack Davis and $250 from Benson’s, Inc. The remainder was in contributions of $100 or less.

Thomas reported raising $5,648 with another $727 in in-kind contributions. Thomas reported receiving $500 from James Harrison of Harrison & Harrison, $500 from Charles Upchurch of Upchurch Realty, $500 from Marvin Green, no occupation listed, $300 from Mike Power of Power Building Products, $250 from Max Brown of Land Headquarters, Inc., $200 from Charles Baugh, retired, and $200 from himself.

On Wednesday at 11:18 p.m., shortly after I filed my blog of that date, I received an email message from Jay Hanley, chairman of the Oconee County Republican Party, and pictured above.

“I wanted to address what may be a misunderstanding on the questioning at the GOP Forum,” Hanley wrote. “Questions were submitted by audience members and not screened in advance by me or my board. Blake did have some questions of his own prepared to fill time when he ran out of audience questions.”

The reference is to Blake Giles, editor of The Oconee Enterprise and moderator of the forum, which was held on June 17.

“The first question on the conservatism that you've written extensively about was submitted by an unknown audience member not by Blake or me,” Hanley said.

The first question Giles asked of the candidates for the BOC, BOE and House contests was “Are you a Conservative Republican.” Giles prefaced that each time by saying “We’re asking this of all the candidates.”

Giles did not say who “we” was or who determined that it be the first question asked of all of the candidates. He also did not offer any indication that the question had come from the audience.

Hanley continued by saying that “The party is bound to qualify any candidate who signs the oath required by state party rules, which simply states, ‘I do swear or affirm my allegiance to the Georgia Republican Party.’ In other words, if the chair of the Democratic party wanted to run as a Republican and he signed the oath, he would be qualified.”

Pat Hayes, Oconee County elections director, confirmed for me on Thursday that the Republic Party in Oconee County handled qualifications for candidates this year and that it was allowed to and did use an oath of allegance.

She handled the single qualification for Strickland and would have required a similar loyalty statement from Strickland for the Democratic Party had the party given her one to issue.

I encouraged Hanley to put this comment to me on by blog, saying I thought it helped explain how little control the parties have over the candidates in Georgia, but Hanley did not do so.

I told him in addition I would make use of the information he gave me to further explain party control and am including it here for that reason.