A number of Oconee County leaders, including Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell, already have picked sides in an evolving contest for what could be an open House District 117 seat.
According to Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports filed on June 30, Daniell contributed to the campaign of Houston Gaines, as did Oconee County Board of Education Chair Tom Odom, Watkinsville City Council member Brian Brodrick and businessman Carl Nichols.
Gaines, who just graduated from the University of Georgia, is one of three candidates running to fill the 117th House District seat now held by Regina Quick. Three of Oconee County’s 13 precincts are in the 117th House District.
Gaines has raised $66,136 for his campaign.
Quick currently is under consideration for an opening on the state Superior Court and, according to campaign finance reports, has not raised any money since the end of January for a re-election campaign.
Doug McKillip, whom Quick defeated in a Republican primary in 2012, also is running and has lent his campaign $102,000, according to his June 30 filing with the state Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
Deborah Gonzalez is in the race as well and has raised $7,842, according to her June 30 filing.
Three-Way Race Possible
If Quick were to resign her seat before the 2018 legislative session gets underway in January, Gaines, McKillip and Gonzales could find themselves running against each other in a special election before the end of the year.
Gaines and McKillip also might compete in a Republican primary in May.
Gonzalez is a Democrat and could meet either Gaines or McKillip in November of 2018.
And other candidates could surface over the next several months.
Gaines, who lives in Athens, was president of the University of Georgia Student Government for the just-completed academic year.
|Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports|
On his campaign web site, he says he is a consultant at Lighthouse Counsel, a “local company that partners with nonprofits to increase mission awareness, organizational effectiveness and philanthropic support.”
McKillip, who formerly lived in Athens, now lives at 1200 Tanglebrook Drive off Epps Bridge Parkway in Oconee County.
He has moved his law practice from Athens to Oconee County and has his office behind Pour Bistro in the Dolvin Building B on Main Street in Watkinsville.
Gonzalez is an attorney specializing in media and entertainment and on social media and technology. She moved to Athens to work at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia.
Gonzalez already has made two appearances in Oconee County as part of her campaign.
The 117th District
The 117th was created following release of the 2010 Census and includes parts of Clarke, Oconee, Jackson and Barrow Counties.
Three northeastern Oconee County precincts, Athens Academy, Malcom Bridge and Bogart, make up the Oconee County part.
The district includes the former Athens home of McKillip, who had been elected as a Democrat in the old district but had switched to the Republican Party.
Quick challenged and upset McKillip in the Republican primary in 2012 and went on to win the seat without Democratic opposition that November.
Based on June 1, 2017, data I downloaded from the Georgia Secretary of State web site, 9.5 percent of the registered voters in the 117th District are in Barrow County, 11.5 percent are in Jackson County, 23.6 percent are in Oconee County, and 55.4 percent are in Clarke County.
In November of 2016, when Quick ran unopposed on the ballot, 10.2 percent of her votes came from Barrow County, 12.7 percent came from Jackson County, 28.6 percent came from Oconee County, and 48.5 percent came from Clarke County.
The 119th District
Oconee County had fallen entirely in a single House district prior to the 2011 redistricting, but the 10 precincts not in the new 117th district were put into the new 119th district with parts of Clarke County.
A majority of the population of the new district is in Clarke County, but a number of them are University of Georgia students, many of whom do not register to vote in the district.
Registration, based on June 1, 2017, figures from the Georgia Secretary of State web site, was split with 49.0 percent from Clarke County and 51.0 percent from Oconee County.
Chuck Williams, who lives in Oconee County and serves on the county’s Industrial Development Authority, currently holds the 119th District seat.
Were Williams to be re-elected in the 119th in 2018 and McKillip to be elected from the the 117th, Oconee County could have two residents with seats in the Georgia House of Representatives in 2019.
In November of last year, Williams, running without Democratic opposition, got 39.5 percent of his vote from the Clarke County part of his district and 60.5 percent from Oconee County, despite the nearly equal registration figures.
Gaines’ Campaign Contributors
Daniell contributed $150 to Gaines’ campaign, Odom contributed $150, and Brodrick contributed $250.
Nichols, president of Nichols Land Group, 2500 Daniells Bridge Road, contributed $1,000.
Other Oconee County contributors include: Calvin Griffith, 1090 Dogwood Hill, outside Watkinsville ($1,000); Michele London-Corry, 1091 Forrest Hill Road, near Jennings Mill Country Club; Vincent Maffei, 1056 Tangle Court, off Epps Bridge Parkway ($500); Petros Nikolinakos, 1090 Ramser Drive, also near Jennings Mill ($1,000); and David Woodruff, 1320 Tanglebrook Drive, off Epps Bridge Parkway ($500).
Don McKenna, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Health Care, gave $500. He used the address of 2410 Hog Mountain Road.
Athens Mayor Nancy Denson contributed $1,000 to Gaines, who managed her latest campaign.
Jamie Boswell, Athens commercial real estate broker and vice chair of the state Transportation Board, gave $200.
Gonzalez And McKillip
McKillip lent his campaign $12,000 on May 4 and $90,000 on June 22, according to his Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report.
David Lockman, 1241 Brittain Estates Drive, donated $500 to Gonzalez, and Sarajano Love, 1091 W. Greystone Lane, donated $300. Both addresses are east of Watkinville near the Middle Oconee River.
No other Oconee County donor contributed more than $100 to Gonzalez’s campaign, according to her Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report.
Gonzalez reported receiving $101 from former Athens-Clarke County Mayor Heidi Davison.
State law requires the governor to call a special election not later than 30 days after a vacancy in a public office occurs.
The Secretary of State election calendar for 2017 lists possible special election dates of Sept. 19 and Nov. 7.
These dates do not include a primary, so all candidates would appear on the ballot with whatever party designation desired. A runoff would be held if none of the candidates were to get more than 50 percent of the vote.
The 2018 Election Calendar sets the primary date for May 22.