January 28, 2014

Northwest Georgia deserves to hear from candidates

The Daily Citizen

— This year there’s an “off-year election,” called that only because there’s no presidential contest. But that doesn’t diminish the important races coming up this year.

We’re talking mainly about the contest to elect Georgia’s governor and the race to fill a U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Saxby Chambliss.

The latter race will be watched nationally as Democrats look to curb efforts by Republicans to take control of the Senate.

The Democratic Party side of the ticket is pretty much limited to one dominant candidate in each of those two state races; the real contests are in the GOP primary.

With more than a half dozen Republican candidates involved in the Senate race, area voters would no doubt like to see and hear them in a live debate.

But we’re not likely to see that happen in Northwest Georgia, not in the Senate race and unless something comes up, not in the governor’s race either.

North Georgia is home to some of the country’s most Republican congressional districts and is considered to be a key battleground in the GOP primary for the Senate seat, according to The Associated Press. This region represents a combined 20 percent of GOP primary voters in the state.

One would think this area would be given a little more consideration. Instead, we’re considered to be in the party’s hip pocket.

It’s a shame that that large bloc of votes is being taken for granted by the state GOP leadership.

That leadership scheduled seven debates for the Senate candidates — and not one in this area. The closest debate site is Kennesaw, scheduled for Saturday.

As for the governor’s race, no debates are scheduled. As head of the state party, incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal has control over that and he probably wants to avoid a debate.

One of his rivals, Dalton Mayor David Pennington, told The Daily Citizen that several groups are putting pressure on the Georgia GOP to schedule gubernatorial debates and if that comes to fruition, he will make sure Dalton is one of the sites.

Dalton hosted more than one debate four years ago and there’s no reason we shouldn’t have another.

If the powers-that-be think area voters are already in the bag and thus don’t need to be courted, they may want to think again. Voters may think they aren’t needed and will sit this election out.