A couple of weeks ago, the Republican Party opened up a very large office here in Dalton, Georgia. One figures that there is only one reason. There is worry over the Governor’s Race between GOP candidate Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes.
Here in the northwest corner of Georgia, if there was no Governor’s race, there would be no election race at all. Back in the summer primary, not a single local race in Whitfield County yielded a Democratic candidate for any office. The Republicans ran completely unopposed.
So after a few run-offs between some local Republicans, the election process and the voice of democracy simply closed up shop. No matter that these newly elected politicians will not take office until January 2011. The race is over. The discussion is over.
The Democratic Party is virtually non-existent in Whitfield County and in other counties in the region. No one will challenge a Republican. The GOP stronghold has a tight noose around the election process.
We live approximately ninety minutes north of Atlanta. Although it is a short ride south, it might as well be a world away. Although there are a few statewide races other than the election of Governor, there is little concern about those.
It does not matter if I would vote for a Democratic challenger in local elections. I possibly could or could possibly not. My husband and I consider ourselves Independents, and we vote the issues instead of the party or the bearers of the issues.
Still, it would be nice to still have the discussion open. We have been suffering greatly in educational spending by a county school board and administration where many citizens and parents are understandably concerned. This was a hot topic issue back in the primary. Yet, now the conversation has completely stopped. No one is even mentioning it. The problems have not gone away. The outgoing spenders are still in office.
This is why our country is founded on airing differences in opinion. So people can talk about it, reach a consensus and then take action. Things never work for the best in a completely lopsided local government. So the educational discussion has stopped dead in its tracks.
There are some signs of Democratic interest blooming in the gubernatorial race. We are starting to see Roy Barnes for Governor signs materialize in the windows of local lawyer’s offices and in the empty buildings around town. These empty mill buildings everywhere are constant reminders of the sad unemployment numbers in this area. We have surpassed the nation and the state throughout this economic downturn.
So in a Republican stronghold like Dalton, Georgia, where the primary race is all a local politician has to fund, why is the GOP arriving here in such a grand way? Nathan Deal must not be the official ‘real deal’ anymore.
Sources: Roy Barnes for Governor, Nathan Deal for Governor, Georgia Department of Labor, City-Data: Whitfield County Election Data