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BOE candidates make final push before runoff

POSTED: July 16, 2014 1:00 p.m.
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A chance to represent their community on the board of education is what's at stake in the two runoff races.

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The four Barrow County board of education candidates aren’t necessarily worried anymore about convincing residents that they’re the best candidate for the job.

No, the biggest issue now as the runoff election date draws near is simply making sure that those residents who want to vote for you, actually go and vote.

"That’s my concern, it’s always a weak turnout on a runoff," said District 1 incumbent Randall Holland. "That’s why you have to get out and work, you can’t take it for granted."

The runoff election day is Tuesday at the same polling places and same times as for the general primary.

Holland, the longest serving member of the board, is in a runoff with Chamber of Commerce vice president Debi Krause after receiving 46 percent of the vote in the primary election to 32 percent for Krause, the top challenger.

Krause is likewise working to get out word of the runoff election date.

"I’ve contacted people I know and used Facebook a lot," she said. "I’ve encouraged people that didn’t go vote in the last election to please go out and vote, even if it’s not for me."

Just 15.73 percent of the county's registered voters came out for the general primary and municipal election vote – 5, 179 out of 32, 923 registered Barrow voters. Runoffs historically see a lower turnout, meaning a few votes really can make all the difference.

That’s why District 4 incumbent Will Dunn is also planning on doing a little extra to encourage more people to vote.

"I anticipate putting up my campaign signs sometime this week if time permits and plan on using social media to help spread the word," he said. "I do not feel that a turn out will be decent and the winner will win by a narrow margin due to previous runoff results."

In the primary, Dunn nabbed 40 percent of the vote to 33 percent for top challenger Michael Shelley.

Shelley isn’t planning on sitting back either.

"I have been doing some visits with area residents. I've been asking them what they would like to see in their representative on the school board and almost unanimously they want to have their rep truly represent them," he said. "One whose children attend county schools and not schools outside the area. One who will listen to their concerns and not be told what had been done."

Like Dunn however, Shelley is worried about the turnout.

"I don't know what to expect on Tuesday," he said. "The primary turnout was low so I'm expecting the runoff to not fair much better. I hope that everyone who is able to will go to the polls and vote."

Dunn said he’s worried that a low turnout, coupled with the current political trends, may not be in his, or any other incumbents, favor.

"I feel there is a strong "anti-incumbent" sentiment going on that deals with more state and federal issues that will trickle down to the county level," he said. "Though voters are not informed of their candidates as they should be, it will impact myself and other good incumbents."

Krause would like to see some of that anti-incumbent sentiment in her quest to overcome a 14-point deficit and earn the right to face Democrat Deborah Kinney in the fall general election. District 1 is the sole race locally with Democratic opposition.

"I’ve asked people to put signs in their yards instead of intersections to show support," she said. "It’s been a long nine weeks of waiting – it’s been on my mind all the time."

Holland is also ready for the day to come.

"I’ve put some signs out, and I’m just talking to people in the community when I see them," he said. "You don’t want to take it for granted, because your people might not show up."



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