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The center of power
If Deal, Cagle win Nov. 2, Hall will be first county to have governor, lt. governor at same time
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General election races

Here are some of the key races on the Nov. 2 ballot (I-incumbent):

Governor
Democrat: Roy Barnes
Republican: Nathan Deal
Libertarian: John Monds

Lieutenant Governor
Republican: Casey Cagle (I)
Libertarian: Rhonda Martini
Democrat: Carol Porter

U.S. Senator
Libertarian: Chuck Donovan
Republican: Johnny Isakson (I)
Democrat: Mike Thurmond

Georgia House, District 25
Republican: James Mills (I)
Democrat: Mike Parker

Georgia House, District 26
Democrat: Chad Cobb
Republican: Carl Rogers (I)

Hall County Board of Commissioners,
District 1

Democrat: Paul Wayne Godfrey
Republican: Craig Lutz

Key dates
Sept. 21: Special election to fill vacancies
Oct. 4: Last day to register to vote in general election
Nov. 2: General election
Nov. 30: General election runoff, if needed

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Depending on how voters feel in November, Hall County could become the home office to the state's two top political leaders.

If Nathan Deal, R-Gainesville, is successful in his campaign for the governor's mansion and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, R-Chestnut Mountain, is re-elected, Hall County might be the first county to be called home by both the governor and the lieutenant governor simultaneously.

But that's about as far as two Georgia political scientists will read into it.

"I don't think there's a ‘Hall County mafia' or something that cleverly set this up," said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia. "... It just happened."

Since Deal and Cagle aren't running on a ticket together like candidates for president and vice president of the United States, Bullock said he doesn't imagine the two candidates' county of residence might become an issue in the campaign.

"It could be one of those ‘talk' kind of things you know, and people from other parts of the state mumble that they're going to both be from Hall County," Bullock said.
Douglas Young, a political scientist at Gainesville State College in Oakwood, says Democrats could charge that the Republican ticket is too localized, but he doesn't think that's likely.

"I don't know that Georgians today think of themselves as North Georgians, South Georgians or East Georgians," Young said. "I'm skeptical that it could have an impact one way or the other."

The most obvious conclusion the two political scientists say can be drawn from the two candidates' hailing from the same county is the growing political power of metro Atlanta and North Georgia.

"It's just symptomatic of how, in recent decades, the population of Georgia has shifted so dramatically toward the northern half of the state," Young said.

In January, David Ralston of Blue Ridge was confirmed as the first speaker of the state House of Representatives from North Georgia in more than 150 years.

With Cagle serving as the president of the state Senate, North Georgia became home to the two most powerful men in the General Assembly.

Until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s that required Georgia to redraw its state districts to match population, Georgia historically reserved its positions of power for its southern leaders.

"(The ruling) really revolutionized Georgia politics," Young said. "... For so much of our history ... it was rural Georgia politicians who dominated the legislature."
Now as a majority of Georgians live in metro Atlanta, their representation is beginning to reflect that, Young said.

"That's where the votes are," he said.

Those voters, Bullock said, may not identify with counties so much as rural or southern Georgians might and therefore likely won't think twice about voting for two candidates from the same place.

"For rural voters, county is very important to them, and they identify with it and it's got the single high school and all those things," Bullock said. "For urbanites, it's probably insignificant."

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