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Runoffs spark interest in area county races
White, Dawson, Banks counties to settle local posts Tuesday
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Election Guide

Runoff races

Banks County
County Commission, Post 1
Republicans: Rickey Caine (incumbent), Danny Maxwell

Dawson County
Clerk of Court
Republicans: Gaye Cantrell, Justin Power

White County
Commission District 1
Republicans: Terry Goodger, Jerry Nicholson

Commission District 4
Republicans: Wesley Craig Bryant, Chris Nonnemaker

Runoff races in surrounding counties are already pulling in a high percentage of voters.

White County has two highly contested races with well-known community members battling for two county commission districts.

"We're seeing higher numbers of early voting than what we saw for the primary election early voting," Probate Judge Garrison Baker said Friday. "That's somewhat surprising because usually you see a tapering off. We may actually have more people casting early ballots than during the primary."

The primary pulled in 35 percent of White County voters, and Baker is predicting the same for the runoff.

For District 1 in Cleveland, Republicans Terry Goodger and Jerry Nicholson are fighting Tuesday for the chance to run against Democrat Bobby Adams in November.

In District 4, which covers Helen and Sautee Nacoochee, Post 2 commission member Craig Bryant is facing chairman Chris Nonnemaker. The winner runs unopposed in November.

"These candidates have taken it to the people and have worked hard," he said. "There are so many signs. If signs could vote, somebody in White County would be governor tomorrow. It's been a number of years since we've seen this much interest."

In Dawson County, the clerk of courts position is in hot demand, with 10 candidates on the ballot going into the primary. On Tuesday, Republicans Gaye Cantrell and Justin Power will race for an unopposed November seat.

Former clerk Becky McCord resigned from the position in March amid a criminal investigation into thousands of dollars missing from office accounts used to hold passport fees.

At the end of June, all 10 candidates debated passport fees and fiscal responsibility in an event sponsored by the Dawson County Republican Party.

Cantrell, a Dawson County banker, recently completed a course in state ethics for elected officials, which she said pairs with her business experience to set her apart.

"The position will require an experienced manager. I believe I am that person," she said. "I will use my education and business experience to make sure we give the highest quality service."

Power, a Dawson county real estate professional, said he would turn the fees over to the county to be used "to benefit the office, technology or whatever the clerk's office needs."

Competition is also fierce in Banks County, where the county commission Post 1 is up for grabs. Incumbent Rickey Caine faces Republican Danny Maxwell, who also previously held a spot on the commission. The winner is unopposed in November.

"Early voting seems to be going well," elections registrar Andra Phagan said. "We have 167 voters, which is a little more than we expected."

At forums hosted in Banks County in June, Maxwell and other candidates showed up but Caine did not. At these forums, Maxwell emphasized his concerns about public safety and county revenues.

"We need to set a plan to do something to get the revenue coming in and take the tax burden off of our citizens. Once revenue comes in, I think we need a plan to take care of the growth," he said. "We are going to have growth whether we want it or not, but what we need to do is be prepared to have everything in place so the growth suits our county."

Maxwell also pointed to roads, water and recreation as top budget priorities.

"We need more activities for our children and also our senior citizens to bring in revenues over there," he said. "It's just something we have to set right and set an itinerary so we can get all these things and in the right sequence."

Regional events