Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Oconee County Business Owner Gisler Steps Forward To Run As Democrat For House District 121; Candidate Selected In May Withdraws

***Party Rules Allow Replacement***

The Georgia Democratic Party has appointed local business owner Eric Gisler to replace Courtney Frisch on the Nov. 5 ballot as the party nominee for Georgia House District 121 representative.

Frisch submitted her letter of withdrawal from the campaign to the Georgia Secretary of State on May 28, or seven days after the May 21 Democratic Party Primary, in which she ran unopposed.

The state Democratic Party received the withdrawal notice on May 31, and the party Executive Committee met on June 2, according to documents it submitted to the Secretary of State.

At that meeting, according to those documents, it appointed Gisler as the party nominee.

Gisler will meet incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower in November. Wiedower defeated John Michael Grigsby in the May 21 Republican Party Primary.

Frisch, who has not appeared at any party meeting in Oconee County since qualifying in March, said “I am no longer able to commit to the candidacy at this time” in her letter to the Secretary of State Office. She has not responded to requests for elaboration on that statement.

Gisler’s Candidacy

Gisler challenged incumbent Republican Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell in 2020 and served as co-chair and then chair of the Oconee County Democrats from 2019 to 2022.

Gisler From Facebook Video

He is owner of the Olive Basket in Epps Bridge Center and lists his occupation as group product manager in his declaration of candidates and affidavit.

He is 48 years old and states that he has been a legal resident of Georgia for 21 years and of Oconee County for 12. He lists his address at 1071 Colliers Creek Road in Oconee County.

In an email message on Tuesday, Gisler said he decided to run because he believes that House District 121 “is more competitive than most, and has been challenged in the last three cycles. I wanted to make sure we keep the pressure on this seat.”

“I want to give people a choice,” he said. “District 121 is a diverse district and people deserve to have a choice on the ballot, especially in these times.”

Gisler has created a Facebook page and said he plans to put a video on it each day commenting on issues before people living in the district.

Announcement Of Withdrawal

Harold Thompson, Chair of the Oconee County Democratic Party, announced Gisler’s candidacy in an email message on the party mailing list late on Monday night, explaining that Frisch had withdrawn.

Jennifer Stone, assistant director of Elections and Registration for Oconee County, said in an email on Tuesday morning that “After having contacted the State regarding this, we have gotten some answers.”

“Yes, Courtney Frisch did withdraw on the 28th of May with the State,” Stone wrote. “According to OCGA 21-2-134 (b)(1)(B), a vacancy created by a withdrawal can be filled by a substitute nomination if the party rules and regulations state such.”

Frisch, who lives in Athens-Clarke County and had been recruited by the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party, listed her occupation as transportation planning engineering consultant on her qualifying documents. 

House District 121 consists of six of the eight precincts in Oconee County and parts of Clarke County.

On her Financial Disclosure Statement, Frisch listed her employer as AECOM of Atlanta, an infrastructure consulting firm.

I sent Frisch text and email messages on Monday evening asking for additional detail of her decision to withdraw, but she did not respond.

I called her on Tuesday morning as a follow up. She answered, said she was on another call, and said she would call me back. She has not.

Frisch has never appeared before the Oconee County Democratic Party to introduce herself and did not participate in the April forum the Oconee County Democratic Party held for candidates.

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