By Abigail Stuckey
What was thought to be a chaotic election year has extended into January for two candidates in the state senate race. Th election winds up today with voters across west Pickens and the Tate area returning to the polls. Dalton natives Chuck Payne (R) and Debby Peppers (I) will still be campaigning into the New Year in hopes of securing Georgia State Senate Seat 54 previously held by Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton. What started out as a five-way race has turned into a runoff after no candidate received a majority of the vote on December 13th.
With a disheartening 6.6 percent registered voter turnout, both candidates agreed that the recent Presidential election might have turned many voters off. In Pickens, just 168 of the 6,672 active registered voters cast ballots.
Peppers stated, “There is normally a low turnout with a special election. We just got through a long drawn out election and people were burnt out. Maybe next week after the New Near there will be more voters, but we know there still will not be a huge turnout.”
With the election being announced the day after the Presidential election, running into the holiday, and less than desirable weather, it is clear to see why many people did not get out to vote.
Both candidates have been eagerly campaigning throughout the holiday in hopes to capture a victory. When asked about his campaign, Payne (former chairman of the Whitfield Country Republican Party) said, “I feel very positive in the fact that we’ve run a positive campaign. People have known me for years working behind the scenes [in politics] in North Georgia and they know where I’m coming from.”
When asked about her political affiliation, Peppers said, “I want people to get to know me as a person and see if they can support me based on that.”
The election will be held on January 10th at regular polling places from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.