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Election nearing the end

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- It has been a bitter midterm election cycle, but with just one day left before voters flock to precincts throughout the county the end is near.

The grouping of statewide campaigns have become increasingly hateful with political officials spending record amounts of cash on television and online advertising.

Topping the list at the statewide level is the race for the keys to the Governor's mansion.

Governor

With incumbent Sonny Perdue prohibited by the Georgia Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term, former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes -- the Democrat -- former Georgia Congressman Nathan Deal -- the Republican -- and Libertarian John Monds have all stepped up to replace him.

While Monds is predicted to pull in as much as eight percent of the vote, the battle for the governor's seat has largely been fought between Barnes and Deal.

Barnes has tried to make nice with the teachers unions who helped vote him out of office his last time out by offering an overhaul of the state's education system while promoting significant reform in the state's economic development efforts. Deal is running on his fiscally conservative record, pledging to reduce the size of most government entities while making public safety and education his priorities. Dogged by an ethics scandal involving his auto salvage business and a reluctance to disclose all of his tax records, Deal has been hammered in ads by Barnes.

Secretary of State

While the gubernatorial race has received a significant amount of attention throughout the state, the race for secretary of state has received almost none in Southwest Georgia.

This race pits former Republican legislator Brian Kemp -- who is currently serving as secretary of state through an appointment by Perdue -- against former Democratic legislator Georganna Sinkfield.

Kemp is pledging to continue implementing various facets of his plan to secure elections and streamline corporate licensure, while Sinkfield is promising renewed scrutiny over the elections process.

Lt. Governor

Incumbent Republican Casey Cagle is asking the voters for an extension on his public contract as lieutenant governor while trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat Businesswoman Carol Porter from Dublin.

Porter has attacked Cagle as a corrupt politician with ties to special interests while pledging a fiscally conservative approach to managing the state Senate. Cagle is running on his record of reduced government.

Attorney General

This winner of this race will fill the seat vacated by Thurbert Baker, who had to step down in a failed bid to become governor. Voters will decide between former Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges,former Cobb County Chairman Sam Olens, and Libertarian Don Smart.

Hodges, the Democrat, has repeatedly described himself as the only person in the race with any experience as a prosecutor while Olens pledges to bring a conservative perspective to the office, pledging to fight federal policy intruding on state's rights.

State School Superintendent

This race is between John Barge, a Republican head of Curriculum at

the Bartow County School System, Democratic Businessman Joe Martin and Libertarian teacher Kira Willis of Roswell.

Insurance Commissioner

Republican Ralph Hudgens, an investor from Hull, Democrat Mary Squires, a consultant from Atlanta, and Libertarian Shane Bruce from Atlanta, are all campaigning to replace former insurance commissioner John Oxendine who ran unsuccessfully for governor.

Hudgens has been campaigning on a platform centered on providing increased consumer protection, affordable property and casualty insurance and workable health insurance. Squires is pledging to be a watchdog for consumers while making Georgia families her first priority.

Agriculture Commissioner

Republican Gary Black, Democrat J.B. Powell and Libertarian Kevin Cherry are all vying to replace retiring Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin. According to his website, Black is promising safe food, responsible government and strong farms.

Labor Commissioner

Republican Mark Butler, Democrat Darryl Hicks and Libertarian Will Costa are campaigning to replace the office vacated by Michael Thurmond, who is running for U.S. Senate. Butler believes in bringing his conservative approach to the Labor commissioner job, while working to create an environment that will attract jobs. Hicks believes renewed focus on small business and workforce development will create jobs while Costa believes a competitive corporate tax structure will recruit industry and partnerships with educational institutions will provide a skilled labor force.

While statewide races have received a lot of attention, local races are also motivating voters.

U.S. Representative, District 2

State Rep. Mike Keown has managed to put together an organized and well-funded challenge to longtime incumbent Congressman Sanford Bishop. Running on a platform of small government, and socially conservative ideals, Keown's campaign has largely billed himself as the antithesis of current Washington politics. Bishop, however, is running on a sound record of being able to provide support and leadership that has help keep jobs and funding in Southwest Georgia during his 16-years in office.

State Representative, District 150

Some area voters will choose between longtime Democratic Rep. Winfred Dukes and Republican challenger Karen Kemp. Dukes is campaigning on his record as providing resources and representation for those in the district while Kemp is pledging her support in working as a conservative voice through the reapportionment process.