On Tuesday, voters across Georgia will go to the polls in the state’s general primary. Voters in Whitfield and Murray counties will vote on a number of important issues and local races.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Both Whitfield and Murray will join with 13 other counties to vote on whether to impose a 10-year, 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to fund transportation projects across the region. Other regions in the state will also vote on the referendum. Officials project that tax would bring in some $1.2 billion. If a majority of voters in a region approve the tax, it will become law, even in the counties where it is defeated. Many experts believe the turnout in Whitfield County will determine whether the tax succeeds or fails here.
State House of Representatives
While most local races for the General Assembly are uncontested, Whitfield County voters face choices in the Republican primary for two state House of Representatives seats.
Incumbent Jay Neal, of LaFayette, faces Chickamauga businessman Steve Tarvin for state House District 2. Redistricting has placed Trichum, Tunnel Hill and Westside in Whitfield County in District 2. No Democrat qualified for the position, so unless an independent qualifies, the winner of the primary will win the seat.
Bruce Broadrick, Dennis Mock and David Renz face off for state House District 4. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, who currently represents District 4, announced his retirement earlier this year. The district includes the city of Dalton and a few surrounding areas. No Democrat qualified for that race either.
The Whitfield County Board of Education and the Dalton Board of Education have placed a five-year, 1 percent education SPLOST on the ballot. They project that SPLOST will collect some $105 million. The city school system would use its portion, about one third of the total, to pay for renovations at Fort Hill School to house Morris Innovative High School and for renovations at Dalton Middle School. The county school system would use the remainder to pay for various building projects and to pay down debt.
In nonpartisan races, incumbent Sidney Baxter faces Randy Evans for one seat on the Magistrate Court, and incumbent Kaye Cope faces Phillip Croy, Don Allen Garrett and Jerry Leonard for another seat.
There are no contested races in the Democratic primary, but several races on the Republican side are up for grabs.
Incumbent Mike Babb is being challenged by Ronald Ownby for chairman of the Board of Commissioners, and Lynn Laughter is challenging incumbent Greg Jones for Board District 4. No Democrat qualified for either of those seats.
And incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Melica Kendrick has four challengers: Susan Miller, Jodi Putnam Stuckey and Jessica Swinford. No Democrat qualified for that post.
In nonpartisan races, Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran faces Dwayne Hooper, and Jimmy Beavers, Leroy Green, Eric Hooker, Kevin Jones, Mike Padgett and John Waters are all in the race for Magistrate Post 2, a part-time position.
Murray County’s Republican voters will have choices in several races.
Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan faces challenger Brittany Pittman. No Democrat qualified in that race.
Gary Langford, Wyle Keith Pritchett and Ken Smith are all running for sheriff. Sheriff Howard Ensley is running for re-election unopposed on the Democratic ticket.
Kim Dailey and Donna Flood are seeking the GOP nomination for clerk of Superior Court. Incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Connie Gallman Reed faces Donald Cantrell in the Democratic primary. That’s the only contested race on the Democratic slate in Murray County.
Voters in both the Republican and Democratic primaries can vote in a non-binding straw poll on whether the county should maintain a sole commissioner or switch to a multi-member commission.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Voters must bring one of the following forms of photo ID: a Georgia driver’s license; a Georgia voter ID card; U.S. passport; military ID; tribal ID; an employee ID issued by the federal government, state government or any city, county, authority or board in this state; any other form of state or federal ID.