Rep. Allen Peake (R, District 141) issued a statement explaining why he, a Republican office holder on a Republican ballot this year (unopposed), is voting in the Democratic primary on May 24 in the Macon-Bibb elections. It is apparent in his statement that he feels like this choice is the only one that would provide him a voice in local elections:
“If you choose the Republican primary, you will NOT have a chance to vote for Sheriff or for the Tax Commissioner or for the Georgia House District seat formerly held by Nikki Randall. There are NO Republicans running in those races. In fact, there is not a single LOCAL contested election on the Republican ballot this spring. There is a race for the US Congress and Senate, but no local elections.”
Rep. Peake has already shown that he has the guts to stand against the status quo with his fight for medical cannabis. He is once again paddling against a strong stream with the idea of pushing forward the issue of non-partisian local elections in Georgia, but it is one that needs to be fought.
Rep. Peake is also being joined by Republican Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Mallory C. Jones, III in voting in the Democratic Party primary. He penned a strong letter to the editor to The Telegraph (Macon) in support of Wade McCord’s (a Democrat) campaign for Tax Commissioner. McCord replied to the support from a member of the “opposing” Party on his Facebook page:
I’m a lifelong Democrat and proud of it. I vote Democrat. I’m running as a Democrat. But I learned a LONG time ago that labels are pretty much completely useless in every life situation, and I’m proud to know and work with and serve in uniform with and hang out with a lot of smart Democrats and Republicans. Now I don’t know Republican Macon-Bibb Commissioner Mallory Jones particularly well, but he sure did say some nice things about me in the Telegraph today. Clearly I owe this very smart Republican a beer! Thanks for the kind words, Commissioner!
I am the immediate past Chair of the GA-12 Republican Party and I personally saw during my tenure the impact of having partisan elections in counties that slant heavily Republican or Democratic. I saw people of one Party have to run on the “other side” because it was the only way to be elected. I have seen good people choose not to run because they did not want to qualify for the only Party that could win. I have also seen candidates seeking political office that have been chastised because they voted in the “other” Party’s primary at some point in their life because it was only way to have a voice in local politics.
We have to go to non-partisan local elections in Georgia. I realize the chances of that happening are slim, just like the idea of expanding ballot access. I know many local Parties exist on the money from local qualifying, but sometimes you just have to do what is best for the community. In fact, I think that it will cause the county Parties to get more involved in local races, as many County Parties coast along through local elections as the winner is typically decided at the primary, not the general election.
Rep. Peake’s statement can be seen after the break.
Why I’m voting in the Democratic Primary for the May 24 Macon-Bibb elections
On May 24, every citizen that casts a vote in Macon-Bibb will be faced with not only a choice of who do they vote for, but also, WHAT PRIMARY are they going to vote in.
If you choose the Republican primary, you will NOT have a chance to vote for Sheriff or for the Tax Commissioner or for the Georgia House District seat formerly held by Nikki Randall. There are NO Republicans running in those races. In fact, there is not a single LOCAL contested election on the Republican ballot this spring. There is a race for the US Congress and Senate, but no local elections.
If you choose the Democratic primary, you will have the option to vote for Sheriff (and I’m supporting David Davis, who has done an outstanding job!), and for Tax Commissioner, an election between Wade McCord (who has been in the tax office for 20 years and done a great job as interim commissioner for the last year) and former Macon Mayor C Jack Ellis. I can tell you that this election is crucial to the future of our community. I for one shudder at the thought of Jack Ellis in charge of $150 million dollars of our tax money! You will also be able to choose to vote (if you live in the district) for GA House District 142 between Miriam Paris and Gerald Harvey. Miriam was instrumental in the successful consolidation of Macon-Bibb, and in my mind is the right candidate.
And if you vote in the Democratic primary, you will still have the chance to vote in the Macon-Bibb non partisan races, which include Mayor, all Commissioners, the Board of Education (which has quite a few races), local Judges, and the Macon Water Authority.
Yes, it is insane that the Sheriff and Tax Commissioner are partisan elections (as well as County Clerk, District Attorney, and Solicitor General). I introduced legislation several years ago to try and change this law state wide, but was unsuccessful. Maybe it’s time to tee it up again next Session? Because why should the good folks of Macon-Bibb, and others around the state, be forced to make a choice like I’m making in order to have a say in local elections like Sheriff and Tax Commissioner.
Crazy, but that’s why I’m voting in the Democratic Primary. And for the long term viability of our local government, I hope you will join me in voting in the Democratic Primary on your absentee ballot, or in early voting (which starts Monday, May 2), or on election day on May 24.