The race to replace retiring State Representative Stephen Allison is down from 4 candidates in the May Primary to 2 candidates in the July 26 Runoff. Matt Gurtler, a Rabun County home builder won the primary with 35% of the vote with Rabun retiree Kent Woerner coming in second with 22%. On Tuesday a debate sponsored by the Clayton Tribune highlighted the differences between the two candidates and gave voters a real opportunity to choose between the policies of the future and the past.
Based of the Two Business Day Reports this race is drawing interest outside the district with 80% of Woerner’s reports showing major contributions from special interest groups and other sitting legislators while Gurtler’s funding is from primarily from district voters.
According to an email from the Union County GOP Chair, Dale Allison, one candidate is receiving heavy support from lifelong Democrats in Union County:
For those of you who have lived here for some time will recognize that the Democrats have chosen their candidate for the office with the yard signs placed in their yards on Old Blue Ridge Highway and in Blairsville. I was not naïve enough to believe that our Democratic friends had suddenly ‘seen the light’. They have no candidate so they have chosen to support the candidate who best represents their beliefs.
While Primary runoff elections historically produce a low voter turnout, this race could be an exception to that rule. With no Democrat on the ballot in November the next HD-8 Representative will be the runoff winner. With early voting beginning July 5, there appears a clear choice for those conservative voters who turnout.