Two Georgia Public Service Commission seats will be decided statewide, and both include a candidate from Johnson’s Libertarian Party as well as a Republican incumbent. A Democrat also is running for one of the slots.
Locally, a host of races were narrowed to single candidates in the July 31 primary, but there are still a few choices to be made.
The new 14th Congressional District covers Floyd and the 10 other counties in the northwest corner of the state, plus a part of Pickens County. Incumbent Republican Tom Graves is being challenged by Democrat Danny Grant, a master electrical contractor from Catoosa County who says he wants to bring a working man’s perspective to Congress.
All Floyd County voters will decide on two county commissioners, the sheriff and the clerk of Superior Court.
The sitting sheriff, Democrat Tim Burkhalter, is up against Republican Cary Cooper — although Burkhalter said party affiliation means nothing in local races.
“Democrats don’t get the front-seat ride on my watch; ... I answer all the calls that I get,” he said.
Cooper, a retired county police officer, said he doesn’t have a personal beef with Burkhalter but thinks it’s time for a change.
“Our priorities need to be straightened out,” he said.
In the Post 2 County Commission race, incumbent Republican Garry Fricks is facing Democrat Gary Harrell.
Fricks, who’s been on the board 12 years, said his experience is needed during these tough budgetary times. Harrell, a Pepperell High School graduate and vice chair of the Georgia Democratic Party technology committee, says it’s time to bring fresh, new ideas to the table.
The Post 3 incumbent, Republican Irwin Bagwell is being challenged by Democrat Rick Garrett, a firefighter who ran unsuccessfully for the Post 4 seat in 2010.
Garrett favors city-county consolidation as a way to cut costs. As the current board chairman, Bagwell is overseeing a line-item review of the 2013 budget.
Clerk of court incumbent Barbara Penson, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Mark McAllister, a retired transportation worker.
McAllister, who is active in the local Tea Party, said he will ensure the department’s budget adheres to conservative principles. Penson is touting her modernization of the department while still maintaining a balanced budget.
Voters in unincorporated Floyd County will choose between incumbent Floyd County Board of Education member David Cox, a Republican, and challenger Everett Ballard, a Democrat.
Cox, a teacher for 30 years with a doctorate in education, has been on the board for four years. Ballard, a retired business owner who also worked part-time in the school system, says he wants to provide “some good old common knowledge and common sense.”
The redrawn state House District 12 covers all of Chattooga County and western Floyd, including Cave Spring. Incumbent Democrat Barbara Massey Reece is facing off against Republican Eddie Lumsden, a former Floyd County county commissioner.
Reece, a retired teacher, is running on her seven terms of bipartisan representation of local interests and focus on education, veterans, seniors and rural issues.
Lumsden, a retired Georgia State Patrol trooper who owns an insurance agency, says his support from the Republican leadership will increase the county’s clout in the General Assembly.