CHATSWORTH, Ga. – Heath Jones defeated Celeste Bargeron to win the Murray County Board of Education (BOE) District 6 seat and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed in Tuesday’s primary election.
In the Republican primary Tuesday, incumbent Heath Jones took 1,385 votes and 67.46 percent to overcome Bargeron, who received 668 votes and 32.54 percent. No candidates Democratic candidates qualified to face Jones in the November general election; therefore, Jones will retain his seat on the board.
The BOE District 5 race saw Mitchell Wilson run uncontested in the Republican primary, receiving a total of 1,502 votes. Wilson is also unopposed in general election and will assume the District 5 seat on the board.
In BOE District 7, Republican incumbent Kelli Reed was also unopposed in the primary and will be unopposed in the general election. Reed took 1,553 total votes and will retain her seat on the board.
In the chief magistrate judge’s non-partisan race, Connie Reed was unopposed and garnered 2,019 total votes.
The county referendum to continue the 1 percent SPLOST for another six years was approved by voters. The referendum took in 1,689 yes votes (67.08 percent) and 829 no votes (32.92 percent). The new SPLOST will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
In the state Senate District 54 race, Republican incumbent Chuck Payne edged out challenger J. Scott Tidwell with 5,012 total votes (52.87 percent) to Tidwell’s 4,467 (47.13 percent). Payne will move on to the November general election to face Democrat Michael S. Morgan, who was unopposed in the primary and received 1,565 total votes.
In the three state House of Representatives’ races, no candidate ran opposed in his respective party primary. In District 5, which encompasses portions of Murray and Gordon counties, Republican incumbent John Meadows received 2,596 district-wide votes while Brian Rosser took in 504 total votes in the Democratic primary. Meadows and Rosser will meet in November in the general election.
In state House District 6, which includes north Murray County and a portion of Whitfield County, Republican incumbent Jason Ridley ran unopposed in the primary and will run unopposed in the general election. Ridley received 2,090 total district votes.
The race for state House District 11, which includes portions of Murray, Gordon, and Pickens counties, Republican incumbent Rick Jasperse and Democrat Lee A. Shiver both ran unopposed in their parties’ respective primaries. Jasperse received a total of 4,865 votes across the district while Shiver took 673 total votes. Jasperse and Shiver will meet in the November general election.
In state-level races, runoff elections will be required to determine the Republican winners of the gubernatorial race, the race for lieutenant governor, and the race for secretary of state.
For governor, current Lt. Governor Casey Cagle will face current Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a runoff election July 24. Cagle took 39.01 percent of the statewide votes to Kemp’s 25.55 percent. The winner of this runoff will move on to face state Representative Stacey Abrams, who handily defeated fellow state Representative Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary. Abrams garnered 76.44 percent of the statewide Democratic votes to Evans’ 23.56 percent.
In the lieutenant governor’s election David Shafer will face Geoff Duncan in the July runoff for the Republican nomination. Shafer won 48.91 percent of the Republican votes statewide while Duncan received 26.65 percent. The winner of the runoff will face Democratic primary winner Sarah Riggs Amico in November.
The secretary of state’s race will also be decided in the July 24 runoff as Republicans Brad Raffensperger and David Belle Isle will meet for their’s party nod. Raffensperger took 34.98 percent of the Republican votes while Belle Isle took in 28.53 percent. The winner will face Democrat John Barrow in the fall general election.
In the county’s only federal election, the U.S. House of Representatives District 14 race featured Republican incumbent Tom Graves and Democrat Steven Lamar Foster both running unopposed in their parties’ respective primaries. Graves took a total of 38,235 Republican votes in the district while Foster received 10,611 votes in the Democratic primary. Graves and Foster will meet in the general election in November.
CHATSWORTH, Ga. – *These election results are unofficial until being certified by the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
2018 Murray County Primary Election Results
Chief Magistrate Judge (non-partisan):
Connie Reed – 100.00% 2,019 votes
Board of Education District 5:
Mitch Wilson (R) – 100.00% 1,502 votes
Board of Education District 6:
Heath Jones (R) – 67.46% 1,385 votes
Celeste Bargeron (R) – 32.54% 668 votes
Board of Education District 7:
Kelli Reed (R) – 100.00% 1,553 votes
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST):
Yes: 67.08% 1,689 votes
No: 32.92% 829 votes
Georgia House of Representatives District 5
John Meadows (R) – 100.00% 2,596 votes
Results by county:
Gordon: 100.00% 2,400 votes
Murray: 100.00% 196 votes
Brian Rosser (D) – 100.00% 504 votes
Results by county:
Gordon: 100.00% 485 votes
Murray: 100.00% 19 votes
Georgia House of Representatives District 6
Jason Ridley (R) – 100.00% 2,090 votes
Results by county:
Murray: 100.00% 726 votes
Whitfield: 100.00% 1,364 votes
Georgia House of Representatives District 11
Rick Jasperse (R) – 100.00% 4,865 votes
Results by county:
Gordon: 100.00% 513 votes
Murray: 100.00% 721 votes
Pickens: 100.00% 3,631 votes
Lee A. Shiver (D) – 100.00% 673 votes
Results by county:
Gordon: 100.00% 77 votes
Murray: 100.00% 123 votes
Pickens: 100.00% 473 votes
2018 Georgia Primary Election Results
CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR:
Casey Cagle (R) – 39.01% 236,479 votes
Eddie Hayes (R) –
Hunter Hill (R) – 18.34% 111,199 votes
Brian Kemp (R) – 25.55% 154,894 votes
Clay Tippins (R) – 12.22% 74,047 votes
Marc Urbach (R) –
Michael Williams (R) – 4.87% 29,542 votes
Stacey Abrams (D) – 76.44% 422,509 votes
Stacey Evans (D) – 23.56% 130,241 votes
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:
Geoff Duncan (R) – 26.65% 145,849 votes
Rick Jeffares (R) – 24.44% 133,758 votes
David Shafer (R) – 48.91% 267,684 votes
Sarah Riggs Amico (D) – 55.28% 277,675 votes
Triana Arnold James (D) – 44.72% 224,638 votes
SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES:
David Belle Isle (R) – 28.53% 150,973 votes
Buzz Brockway (R) – 15.35% 81,251 votes
Josh McKoon (R) – 21.14% 111,881 votes
Brad Raffensperger (R) – 34.98% 185,087 votes
John Barrow (D) – 51.52% 263,958 votes
Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) – 29.51% 151,224 votes
R.J. Hadley (D) – 18.97% 97,194 votes
Smythe Duval (I) –
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
Jim Beck (R) – 59.69% 313,184 votes
Jay Florence (R) – 20.89% 109,629 votes
Tracy Jordan (R) – 19.42% 101,876 votes
Janice Laws (D) – 62.84% 302,119 votes
Cindy Zeldin (D) – 37.16% 178,677 votes
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
District 3 –
Chuck Eaton (R) – 100.00% 470,258 votes
Lindy Miller (D) – 65.46% 311,286 votes
John Noel (D) – 18.92% 89,955 votes
Johnny White (D) – 15.62% 74,263 votes
District 5 –
John Hitchins III (R) – 46.96% 247,460 votes
Tricia Pridemore (R) – 53.04% 279,510 votes
Dawn Randolph (D) – 78.59% 365,189 votes
Doug Stoner (D) – 21.41% 99,509 votes
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Gov. Nathan Deal made a stop in Blue Ridge Wednesday, May 2, to sign the state budget – House Bill 684 – for the 2019 fiscal year in Georgia and also bring good news for the University of North Georgia (UNG) Blue Ridge campus.
The $26.2 billion budget, which Deal stated was the largest in the history of the state, will include $5.5 million for a permanent relocation project for the UNG Blue Ridge campus.
Also, during the budget signing, Georgia Speaker of the House and Fannin County resident David Ralston announced the location of the forthcoming facility to be just off of state Route 515 and east of Industrial Park Road.
Of the size of the budget itself, Gov. Deal said, “It reflects the growth of our economy.”
“When I came into office in January 2011, it was a bleak time in our state,” Deal explained of the state’s economy.
As a result of the Recession of 2008, Deal went on to say, by the time he took office, the state revenue had dropped by 18 percent and the “rainy-day fund,” or reserves, was essentially depleted with only enough funds to keep the state government open for approximately two days.
Since then, a dramatic increase in state revenue not only allows for a higher state budget in 2019 but also has allowed for a state income tax rate cut for the first time since the tax was instituted in Georgia in 1934, according to Deal. Deal also noted he expects another income tax cut to come again in 2019.
Regarding the state’s “rainy-day fund,” Deal explained conservative spending has enabled the state to increase reserves to the current amount of $2.3 billion.
“So, we are doing exceptionally well on many fronts,” Deal said.
In his Blue Ridge stop, which was one of five locations across the state of Georgia the governor visited Wednesday to sign the budget, Deal focused his address on spending with regard to higher education.
“We have to meet the needs of today and anticipate the needs of tomorrow,” Deal stated. “(Businesses) need an educated and trained workforce. Without that, we’re not going to be able to see companies expand in our state nor are we going to be in a position to recruit new companies to come here.”
Deal explained the Recession of 2008 also affected state lottery proceeds for the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship but announced the 2019 budget will add $68 million more to the HOPE program for higher education opportunities. The governor also stated the state currently has $1.1 billion in reserves for the HOPE Scholarship.
Also, Deal told of the success of dual enrollment, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take college, university, or technical college courses at no cost to serve as credits toward both their high school diploma and a higher education degree or certificate. The 2019 budget provides $26.2 million for dual enrollment programs, Deal stated.
The REACH Scholarship is another opportunity for students seeking higher education. According to Deal, the REACH Scholarship, which was launched in 2012, is needs-based and provides selected eighth-graders with a $10,000 trust account for future higher education. Promising students who come from families with limited financial resources are selected by teachers and school administrators, and once designated as REACH scholars, the students sign a contract agreeing to maintain a good grade point average, to meet with their mentors regularly and also not to partake in crime or drug use.
In addition to the REACH Scholarship, Deal said every institution in the University System of Georgia, which includes 26 public institutions, has agreed to match the $10,000 trust account for REACH scholars.
Since 2012, Deal explained, the state has invested over $689 million in the University System. In the 2019 budget, one of those University System institutions, the University of North Georgia, will not only receive $5.5 million for the Blue Ridge campus, but also $3 million in bonds to renovate its Oakwood campus in Hall County and $4.7 million in bonds to purchase property to expand its main campus in Dahlonega.
“We know that there are many students who will take advantage of these opportunities, and when they do, it will help us to retain them in the state of Georgia. It will help them to have the credentials that will be necessary to get the higher paying jobs that are here today and be able to attract those jobs for the future. For a personal standpoint of a family, when your child gets those kind of credentials, the likelihood that they can stay in Georgia and not have to leave to find a good job is greatly enhanced,” Deal concluded.
Introducing Gov. Deal at the engagement held at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center, Speaker Ralston called the event “historic in many respects,” being the first time in the history of Fannin County that a state budget bill has been signed within the county.
Of Georgia’s 82nd governor, Ralston said, “Governor Deal has led this state to become the best in all the 50 in which to do business in this country. He has truly been a great governor, and frankly, I want to say this state is going to miss his leadership.”
For Fannin County, Ralston explained the 2019 budget will provide over $273,000 to the Fannin County Board of Education. Statewide, Ralston stated, over $360 million will go toward the state’s teacher retirement system. Also, statewide public school campus funding will account for $16 million, over $44,000 of which will go to Fannin County, according to Ralston.
Additionally, the budget will provide $25,000 in bonds to renovate the community center in Epworth and $277,000 for a new roof at West Fannin Elementary School.
“And today, I guess the highlight of the event is, (the budget) contains $5.5 million for the new, permanent campus for the University of North Georgia at Blue Ridge,” Ralston announced.
Ralston then explained when the campus first opened in the fall of 2015, only 18 students were enrolled at the campus. After three years, Ralston said, “That number is more than 150 students. UNG Blue Ridge’s growth rate has far exceeded our expectations and that’s something I think we can all be proud of.”
According to Ralston, the new facility, which will be 13,000 square feet, will more than triple the campus’s available space and will accommodate 500 students. “That’s 500 futures,” Ralston added, “that will be made brighter, right here in our community.”
After announcing the aforementioned location, Ralston explained the contract is pending final approval from the Board of Regents, which is expected to occur within the next 30 to 45 days.
Speaking of the day’s proceedings with regard to the UNG Blue Ridge campus, Campus Director Sandy Ott stated, “This is a wonderful opportunity for growth and expansion for the University of North Georgia to increase programs, course offerings and educational opportunities in the region. The campus has experienced significant growth since opening in the fall 2015. The opportunities that will be available are endless.”
[Featured image: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, center, prepares to sign into effect the state’s 2019 fiscal year budget Wednesday, May 2, at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center in downtown Blue Ridge. Joining Governor Deal for the signing are, from left, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of the University of North Georgia, David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, Deal, Terry England, state representative from District 116 and chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee, and Jason Ridley, state representative from District 6.]
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com