Historically, Democratic candidates on the state and national level haven’t done very well in the Warner Robins-Bonaire-Perry area in recent years.
However, Houston County’sFenika Miller, a Democrat, is poised to become the next person to hold Georgia’s House District 145 seat in November.
Miller’s opponent is a former law enforcement officer who served Warner Robins and the Houston County area, Willie Talton.
Talton did garner the distinction of being the first African-American Republican since Reconstruction to win a seat in the Georgia General Assembly.
Talton has been in office since 2005 after winning the Georgia House District 145 seat in November 2004.
Talton has been a reliable conservative and voted for many of the budget initiatives that contributed to placing Houston County and the state of Georgia in its current economic condition. The budget shortfalls and cuts have been a major factor in teachers being furloughed or fired locally.
The bulk of Talton’s legislative record revolves around public safety issues. However, in terms of every other issue, including education, Talton has been rather silent.
According to Miller’s campaign site, she stated why she is running to unseat Talton.
..”I have watched our representatives as they have placed their priorities above the needs of the people whom they are elected to serve. They have slashed funding to education; cut or eliminated much needed social services to seniors, veterans, and mental health patients; waged war against middle and lower class citizens by reducing tax breaks; and all the while protecting corporate interests by continuing to give tax incentives to companies that haven’t created enough jobs to count those cuts beneficial…”
Georgia House District 145 seat is ‘Democrat-leaning’ which means out of the nine voting precincts, the majority tend to vote for Democrats. However, voter apathy and lack voter enthusiasm could affect turnout and Republicans tend to have the advantage.
Talton is being seriously challenged for the first time since 2004, and voter turnout will be crucial for a Miller victory.
The largest voting precinct in the Georgia House 145 District is the Recreation Department precinct with 3,479 registered voters. The second largest voting precinct is the Elberta Center voting precinct with 3,016 registered voters.
These two particular precincts voted for Obama in 2008 with 58% (Recreation Dept.) and 77% (Elberta Center) of the vote respectively. For Miller to increase her chances of winning, voter turnout in these two precincts is crucial.
Another precinct which is a proverbial wildcard is the Northside Middle School precinct with 2,996 registered voters. In 2008, this district was virtually split with Obama receiving 49% of the vote.
The more conservative precincts in District 145 are the following: Houston County Career Tech, Houston Mall, and Miller Elementary.
If turnout is lower at Elberta and the Recreation Department, then Talton could gain traction with these three precincts potentially overperforming (i.e. strong Republican turnout) which have 2,189 registered voters (HCTC), 2,408 voters (Houston Mall) and 1,894 registered voters (Miller Elementary).
In 2008, Obama received 33% of the vote at the Houston Mall precinct, 33% at the Miller Elementary precinct and 36% at the Houston Count Career Tech District.
The smallest voting precinct of GA-145 is located at Bonaire Middle School –the most conservative of all voting precincts. It only has approximately 500 registered voters, but every vote counts and if voter turnout is low at significantly larger precincts, the race between Talton and Miller could come down to Bonaire Middle School-maybe.
In 2008, only 20% voted for Obama at the Bonaire Middle School location.
On July 20th, Miller and Talton ran unopposed in their party’s primary. However, at the Elberta Center that voted 77% for Obama in 2008, the vote difference was only 73. Miller had 171 to Talton’s 98. The vote could have been significantly greater.
On July 20th, Houston County Career Tech precinct is the 5th largest precinct with a 1,000 less voters, but Talton collected 224 to Miller’s 102. The vote difference was 122.
If Democratic voters show up, Miller has a great chance of winning-decisively.
Currently, 19,902 voters are registered to cast a ballot in the GA-145 race.
Miller, 35, works in real estate and had attended Valdosta State University and Fort Valley State University. Additionally she has been a member of organizations such as Made 2B More, Houston County CASA, Coalition of Concerned Citizens, NAACP, and is Chair of Miller Elementary School Council.
Most notably, Miller is the chair of the Houston County Democratic Committee.
Miller is married to Fort Valley police detective, Vet Miller. The Millers’ have four children: Vet, Jr. 20, Monica 19, Kiki 16, and Jabari, 10.