After two elections, the ballot is finally set for the big show in November.
Republican Craig Lutz will face Democrat Paul Wayne Godfrey in the contest to become the District 1 commissioner and represent South Hall County.
This is the first time political-newcomer Godfrey has entered the race.
Lutz — who has weathered the primary and a runoff election — said Godfrey will be a different kind of opponent. He said he will likely have to shift toward an issues-based race.
“In the case of running against Commissioner (Bobby) Banks, I was faced with an incumbent who had a voting record and of course I had a voting record (as a councilman) with the city of Flowery Branch. A lot of it was positioning my record against his as a differentiation between candidates,” Lutz said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to use that strategy going forward.”
Godfrey said as a political novice, he offers a fresh perspective to the board.
“I believe I am the alternative to business as usual,” Godfrey said. “I am not part of the good ol’ boy network. Never have been, never will be.”
This will also be the first match up between a Republican and a Democrat — something both candidates think will be to their advantage.
Godfrey said the way Republican politicians have handled issues in Georgia may have people looking at Democrats in November.
“I really believe the way things have been going, which I would term unseemly to some extent in our government within the state and locally, people are really kind of tired of that,” Godfrey said. “Regardless of the party they want to see somebody in there they can trust, that they believe in and that will work for them.”
He said political parties can also help people make their decision at the polls.
“The party’s an important factor. You should be a member of the party that more closely fits your beliefs,” Godfrey said.
“About 85 percent of Hall county is Republican leaning, at least it’s been said to be that. But I’ve always been of the belief that a Republican is really a Democrat who’s eyes haven’t been opened yet.”
Lutz believes his Republican affiliation will help him toward a victory because people haven’t been pleased with the way Democrats have been handling issues on a national level.
“I should be able to ride that anti-Democratic wave just like I rode the anti-incumbent wave to get this far,” Lutz said.
He also believes having a tie to the Republican party is a plus for his campaign.
“Of course I’m accountable to the citizens but I also feel like I’m accountable to the Republican philosophy and belief,” Lutz said. “It provides an additional layer of accountability.”