WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – When the polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday (Aug. 11) for the General Primary Runoff election, White County voters will vote for a U.S. Congressman from Georgia’s 9th District, state representatives from the 9th district and 10th districts and a probate court judge.
The high profile race for U.S. Congress has drawn most of the media attention and it has turned ugly in recent days. In social media and campaign flyers, State Rep. Matt Gurtler has accused his opponent, Andrew Clyde a 28-year Navy combat veteran, of being a thief, a Never Trumper, and someone who donated money to Democrats.
That kind of heated rhetoric, especially late in a campaign, tends to turn voters off. Republican Congressman Jody Hice, a member of the Freedom Caucus — the most conservative group in Washington — called Gurtler’s allegations “outright lies.” Former U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, who said he is friends with both men endorsed Clyde. “What pushed me over the top were the lies and negative campaign of (Clyde’s) opponent,” Broun said.
Opensecrets.org reports that during the last reporting period which ended June 22, Clyde had raised $775,739 in campaign funds, spent $733,041 and has a balance on hand of $42,698. Gurtler raised $655,017 and spent $571,171. His cash on hand is $83,845.
Although White County is a Republican stronghold, Democrats will pin their hopes on either Devin Pandy or Brooke Siskin. Pandy is a 21-year Army combat veteran. Siskin will have to overcome the negative publicity that followed her arrest on contempt of court charges for which she spent four days in jail last month. The Republican and Democrat nominees will square off on Nov. 3.
The Republican runoff for State House District 9 between Will Wade, a banker and longtime member of the Dawson County Board of Education, and Steven Leibel, the personal attorney for Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard, was conducted in a more respectful manner.
The rhetoric did become a little heated when Leibel accused Wade of raising taxes, accepting PAC funds and not supporting the senior tax exemption. Wade called that a “inaccuracy” and added, “I am not for changing the senior exemption in this district period.”
There is no Democrat entered in that race.
In the Republican runoff for State House District 10, Victor Anderson will face Robert Crumley and in the race for Judge of Probate Court, Carol Jackson will face Don Ferguson.
The 10th State House district includes a portion of White County. Blue Creek, Mossy Creek, Mount Yonah, Nacoochee, Shoal Creek 205, 201 and White Creek precincts.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com
When a Georgia State House member casts its vote and the vote board locks, a screen shot is automatically taken with the time of the vote on the picture. Also the Georgia House sends out a tweet with the date and time a bill passes.
On June 23rd there appeared to be 2 hours and 18 minutes between SB 474 and HB 426, The Hate Crimes Bill. Between the two bills was HB 838 the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights. State Representative Matt Gurtler voted YES on SB 474, he was ABSENT for the vote on HB 838 Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights, and Gurtler voted NO on HB 426 the Hate Crimes Bill.
Article continues below pictures.
Google maps says it takes an hour and twenty one minutes from the State Capitol to Carnesville, the Franklin County county seat. Round trip would have been 2 hours and 42 minutes not counting time to get to and from your car at the Capitol. So how did Matt Gurtler get to Franklin and back in two hours and eighteen minutes? Then there is the photo which he claims is not real, taken at the Capitol elevator door with a timestamp of 3:15. The House Tweet vote time for HB 838 shows the vote was taken at 3:04.
After hearing that a photo may have been altered I felt it was necessary to dig deeper. This is a serious accusation. Was the Clyde campaign trying to make Gurtler look like he doesn’t support law enforcement? Was Gurtler being unfairly smeared by his opponent?
Or is he really Dr. No or No Show Gurtler? At a time when we are hearing “defund the cops” Law Enforcement in Georgia want to know which Lawmakers have their backs. On June 23rd the Georgia State House at approximately 3:05 passed 92-74 the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights and Standards for Punishing Individuals Who Commit Offenses Against Peace Officers.
Absent during the vote was Georgia State Representative Matt Gurtler. Gurtler is in a runoff against Andrew Clyde to be the Republician candidate on the ballot for the 9th Congressional District in November. The seat is currently held by Doug Collins.
When Gurtler was asked where he was that caused him to miss the vote on HB 838 and does he support law enforcement his answers were “sure I support law enforcement” and I’m running for office and had some campaign issues to take care of.
Missing this important vote has many in law enforcement in the 9th district asking what was more important at that time than showing support for our peace officers? What campaign business? Where was he at the time of the vote? Then the photo appears. One that shows Gurtler at the doors of the elevator at the Capitol.
Immediately the Gurtler campaign goes into damage control claiming the photo is photoshopped and he was in Franklin county at the time of the vote on HB 838.
(Below is the clip from the debate Friday, July 17th.)
In a debate on July 17th in Jackson County, Gurtler claims the photo was photoshopped, that he was in Franklin county.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqf-XzeX8m8[/embedyt]
Moderator: House Bill 838 known as the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights you did not vote on that, you were not present when that bill came to the floor, why not?
Matt: I support law enforcement, what I think is disgusting is photoshopping pictures of me when I am not at the Capitol, we recessed at noon. I went to go talk to people in Franklin county. To understand their needs and return back to the Capitol. I support any Bill that upholds life, liberty and the constitution. To say I walked on the vote, I have never walked on a vote.
Moderator: You’re saying the photo that shows you at the Capitol is photoshopped?
Matt: Yes, I left at noon and got back around three hours later back to the chamber to make it in time for the Hate Crimes Bill.
Moderator: Would you like to respond to that Mr. Clyde?
Andrew Clyde: Sure, it is not a photoshopped photo at all. It’s an I-phone live photo and it has a timestamp Matt. I think the people of Georgia need to know how you would have voted on the bill, Yay or nay?
Matt: Yes, I would support any bill that supports the constitution and supports our law enforcement.
Several of Gurtler’s votes in his career as a state representative that he voted NO on, he would say although he found many things in the bill he liked he had to vote NO because a specific part he found unconstitutional.
The question that remains unanswered is whether Gurtler thought HB838 is constitutional?
In Atlanta Press Club Debate Sunday July 19th during the candid question segment Clyde chose to ask Gurtler again about his whereabouts at the time of the vote on HB838.
Clyde: You missed this vote but I think voters would still like to know do you believe that HB838 also known as the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights is constitutional and would you have voted yay or nay on this specific bill as it is written?
Matt: I said yes. That I would support any bill that upholds the constitution and upholds life, liberty and the property. I think it’s very disingenuous to attack me on something and photoshop photos when I’m not even in the Capitol. We had recess that day. I retired after talking to constituents in Franklin county. ‘
Gurtler again makes the claim the photo is photoshopped and he was in Franklin County at the time of the vote. He dodges Clyde’s direct question “Do you believe HB 838 is constitutional?” and “would you have voted YAY or NAY as it is written?”
So on Monday night, July 20th at the Fannin County Republican party meeting I asked Mr. Gurtler if he would be on my show Tuesday morning? He agreed to be on at 9am Tuesday morning. Late Monday night I received the following message from him cancelling due to a scheduling conflict.
Message from Gurtler: “Hey Brian, I thought I could do it. But my schedule won’t allow it. Was good to see you tonight.”
Message from Banks Wise, Gurtler’s campaign manager: “Hey Brian, good to see you. Matt spoke too soon and wasn’t aware of his schedule. He had a full day and can’t make it on the show.”
I attempted to get him to reschedule but received no answer to my text. I wanted to give Gurtler a chance to say with whom he was meeting in Franklin County at the time of the vote. Provide some hard facts. Surely someone took pictures of his visit.
I sent Gurtler a message last Friday night, July 24th, telling him I wanted to talk to him Saturday at the Stephens County Republican Party BBQ. He knew I planned to ask him questions. After Gurtler finished speaking at the event I watched him sneaking out to avoid me speaking with me. While I don’t like ambush journalism there are some questions that need cleared up. If he makes a serious claim that the photo showing him at the Capitol is photoshopped and he was in Franklin County at the time of the vote on HB838, who was he meeting with and how did he make it to Franklin county and back to the Capitol to vote on the Hate Crimes Bill in 2 hours and eighteen minutes? His campaign manager Banks Wise maintains he was not at the Capitol June 23rd at the time of the HB 838 vote.
I think the voters in the 9th Congressional District along with all the Peace Officers in the Ninth District would like to know what could possibly be more important in Franklin County in this time of strife and turmoil than showing total and unanimous support for law enforcement.
I am still open to the answers and Matt Gurtler is welcome on my show anytime.
Watch Georgia’s 9th Congressional District Republican Debate LIVE FYNTv.com!
WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – After 28 years, White County is going to have a new sheriff and his name is Rick Kelley. He defeated four opponents to win the Republican Party nomination. Kelley captured 51.6 percent of the vote, eliminating the need for a runoff. He received 3,792 votes to Aaron Autry’s 2,170, who finished second.
There will be several other runoff elections on Aug. 11 where White County voters can cast a ballot. Deciding a Probate Judge to replace Garrison Baker will require a runoff between Don Ferguson who captured 3,242 votes (44.4 percent) and Carol Jackson who won 2,812 votes (38.51 percent).
State House District 10 candidates Robert Crumley and Jimmy Dean are also headed for a runoff. Crumley received 2,174 votes Tuesday (44.94 percent) to Dean’s 1,433 votes (29.62). The winner will then face Democrat Nick Mitchell in the November General Election.
With about 97 percent of the votes counted in the U.S. House District 9 race, it appears Matt Gurtler of Tiger and Andrew Clyde survived the nine-candidate race that covers 20 counties. Gurtler won about 22.4 percent of votes cast while Clyde received 18.6 percent. The winner of that runoff will face the Democrat winner between Devin Pandy and Brooke Siskin.
In another contested race, Board of Commissioners District 1 Commissioner Terry Goodger won reelection, defeating Jerry Nicholson 1,276 to 383. Commission Chairman Travis Turner and District 4 Commissioner Craig Bryant ran unopposed.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com
BKP interviews the candidates for the 9th Congressional District. These candidates discuss with BKP the latest in the news from Black Lives Matter, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Department of Education and the 2nd Amendment on if they support it or not. These interviews will better help you get to know the candidates for the June 9th election.
ELLIJAY, Ga – With the Georgia Primary finally set for June 9, the nine candidates for U.S. House of Representatives District Nine seat met for a Zoom debate.
The nine Republican candidates are State House District 8 Rep. Matt Gurtler, District 50 State Senator John Wilkinson, State House District Rep. 9 Kevin Tanner, property rights attorney Ethan Underwood, small business owner Kellie Weeks, small business owner Andrew Clyde, former law enforcement officer Maria Strickland, physician Paul Broun, and Constitutionalist Michael Boggus.
All candidates voiced their support for the big issues like Second Amendment Rights, supporting President Trump, limited government, and fiscal conservatism. However, Gurtler took the opportunity to call out fellow Georgia General Assembly members for their yearly budget votes.
“As one of the three elected officials in the State House and the Senate, I think it’s funny when I hear my opponents Tanner and Wilkinson say that they’re fiscally conservative, yet they vote for the budgets, which add a billion to 1.5 billion dollars every year to Georgians. I oppose those budgets every year and we also take one to one federal money, which adds to the national debt that’s something that I’ve been fighting for more transparency with HB4,” expounded Gurtler.
Wilkinson responded, “I’m proud of the state we live in. I’m proud to serve on the appropriations committee. I’m proud that I’ve been able to help the counties of Northeast Georgia during my service at the legislature I think that speaks for itself. When you have a triple-A bond rating, a balanced budget, and you’re the number one place in the nation to do business and a million more citizens than you did ten years ago, something must be going right and I’m proud to be part of that.
“I’m a Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, anti-federalist type politician. They believed in a limited role of the federal government. The states under the 10th amendment have certain responsibilities – transportation, education infrastructure, [and] other things are part of the [state’s] responsibility. I’m proud we have a balanced budget in Georgia, a triple-A bond rating, one of the few states in the country that does. I’m proud that Gov. Kemp continues to put forth a well-balanced, conservative budget. I’ve been proud to support that along with most every Republican in the House. We did have a few Democrats and one member of the panel who did vote against the budget.”
Gurtler called out their responses as “fake talking points” by Republicans, and he’s the only proven conservative in the race.
COVID-19 and State Bailouts
On the topic of COVID-19, everyone admitted the virus is real, but it’s time to safely get the country back to work.
“Certainly, the coronavirus is a health issue, not a government issue. In my opinion, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and even Dr. Toomey in Georgia, they’re swamp creatures, and they have been able to accomplish what Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Strzok, and all those other people tried to do to take this president down, stated Broun. “We need to get this economy going. We need to let people be responsible for their own actions.”
“I would never diminish the fact that people are afraid,” said Tanner. “I have been surprised how quickly people are willing to give up their liberties for safety. I think that is a concern. I think we have small government overreach in many areas. I have been amazed at how well businesses have stepped up on their own.”
Many also denounced the first $2.2 trillion bill for government overreach and unnecessary spending. Gurtler said that “75 percent of the bill had nothing to do with the coronavirus.”
Wilkinson championed moving manufacturing back to the U.S. and making China accountable for some of the debt incurred by COVID-19.
Most were against a states bailout by the federal government, except Strickland.
She said, “I would think a limited amount of bailout would be appropriate to some of the states only because this a unique situation that no one expected to be getting into. Granted, the states some of them like New York, New Jersey that spent their money on illegal immigrants and all this other kind of thing. They didn’t prepare for the future. We do need to bailout some of them, but only a limited amount.”
“I think it’s fine if the states get a stimulus as long as it goes to people and the small businesses,” stated Boggus. “Small businesses [are] the backbone of this country. This stimulus should be pork-free unlike the last one and there shouldn’t be [any] ice cream bought by Nancy Pelosi.”
Underwood brought up the Federal Emergency Relief Act, which is available to all states to purchase medical equipment and relief.
“Are the states not going to tax us? Because it seems like every level of government thinks their money comes from somebody different, and it’s all coming from us. We all the taxpayers here,” explained Weeks. “We’re all just getting billed again and again and again.”
“Several states were in trouble before this started because of irresponsible decisions at the state level. Bailouts don’t work. Bailout bills are always filled with pork and actually reward bad decisions,” heralded Clyde. “We have a huge national debt and it would be irresponsible to add more to it. We need to get the people back to work.”
Hear detailed answers from all the candidates about the next COVID-19 package, contact tracing overreach, and defunding the World Health Organization, watch the debate here.
Turning to the ongoing saga of affordable healthcare for Americans, all candidates agreed that Obamacare should be repealed.
Underwood championed a private healthcare system that travels with people. It would no longer be tied to employers, which prevents many individuals in the gig-economy from accessing reasonably priced and effective healthcare plans. He added that preexisting conditions must be factored in when creating a new healthcare platform.
“Stand firm against socialized medicine,” said Gurtler. When Republicans controlled the House and Senate, they still couldn’t repeal Obamacare.
“People in our rural areas deserve good healthcare and the best way to do that is to get the federal government completely out of it,” Wilkinson stated.
Broun, who previously served in Congress and worked as a physician, presented his bill that would put doctors and nurses in charge of medical decisions. “All healthcare goods and services cheaper for everybody.”
“The only solution to health care is a free-market solution,” said Tanner. “The bigger underlying problem is the pharmaceutical companies have their hand in almost every Congressional race and Congressman in Washington. They’re controlling the drug prices. Gov. Kemp appointed me to chair the mental health reform commission last year. One of the biggest challenges we faced was the pharmaceutical companies and their desire not to have changes in our healthcare system.
To hear the candidates’ comments about President Trump, immigration, China, sanctuary cities, staying in touch with voters, and closing statements, check out the debate.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State House Representative Matt Gurtler, 8th District, formally announced Feb. 18 that he received a campaign endorsement from U.S. Senator Rand Paul. “I am proud to receive Senator Rand Paul’s endorsement for Congress,” Gurtler said. “Rand Paul is one of the few men in Washington D.C. willing to stand up for the Constitution and take on the establishment.”
Sen. Paul’s endorsement reads as follows:
“Matt Gurtler is a proven conservative who has stood strong against out-of-control government spending and the special interests in Atlanta. He is the exact type of conservative leader we need in Washington who will defend liberty and serve the people of Georgia’s 9th District, not the DC insiders. He has my full and total endorsement.”
Sen. Paul is a member of the Republican Party, a U.S. Senator representing the state of Kentucky, and a former candidate for President of the United States.
Featured Image: U.S. Senator Rand Paul
ELLIJAY, Ga. – State House Representative Matt Gurtler spoke with FYN CEO Brian Pritchard in a live FYNTV interview, Feb.13, on the state budget cuts, related HB 4, and his announcement to run for the 9th Congressional District seat vacated by U.S. Senate-seeking Representative Doug Collins.
Gurtler, who is running on a platform of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, said that the decision to run for U.S. Congress did not come lightly, and reached through deliberation and prayer. “We looked at the State Senate seat, we looked at the Congressional seat and had an opportunity to go up to Washington D.C. to meet with the conservative leaders in the House and also the Senate, and theses individuals and individuals reaching out to me across the District really encouraged me to run,” Gurtler said. “They’ve been watching me, and that I’ve been standing up to the powers that be, and the insiders in Atlanta and the special interests and the bloated budgets, and so it was sort of flattering that they noticed me there. And so we came back, and me and my family prayed, and we made the decision for Congress. We feel that we have a lot of support around the District. We’re going to work our tail off. We’re going to put tens of thousands of miles on the car again and wear the soles out on our feet and just bring the message of limited government to a wider audience, and a national audience if we are elected, so that we can really educate people.”
Gurtler said that members of the House and Senate voiced a need for “revolutionaries” to educate people on a national level, specifically against socialism. The State House Representative, who was in Washington D.C. during the telephone interview, divulged that he met with the Young Americans for Liberty, Freedom Caucus, and Club for Growth – an organization that is spending millions to fight Congressman Doug Collins in the U.S. Senate race.
Gurtler added that he received an endorsement from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
The 8th District representative later shared his support for the Second Amendment in a social media post. “Our founders understood the right of self-defense is a natural and God-given right,” Gurtler wrote. “Red Flag laws and gun confiscation legislation like we see in Virginia, are dangerous to the principles of a free society and go against our constitutional rights. I will stand up for our 2nd Amendment rights in Washington DC just as I have done from day one at the State Capitol these past 4 years.”
Continue to follow FYN for local, state, and national campaign coverage as the May 19 primary election approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State House Representative for the 8th District, Matt Gurtler, officially announced candidacy for the 9th Congressional District seat on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 12.
“We did not expect this opportunity to come so soon,” Gurtler stated in a press release. “However, I’ve learned that it is not enough to simply support the Constitution, the Second Amendment, or love liberty… We must fight for our shared values and principles like I’m doing in Georgia. Since Day ONE of my time serving in the Georgia State House, I’ve tirelessly fought to defend Georgia’s constitutional conservative values, principles, and our God-given rights. Working alongside Governor Kemp, I’ve been fighting for Georgia to become a national leader in defending our second amendment rights. Congress needs proven limited government conservatives who will stand up to Speaker Pelosi and fake Republicans like Mitt Romney and John Bolton. I support President Trump’s agenda to bring our troops home, cut job-killing regulations, and defend the right of the unborn.
“My decision to run for Congress does not come lightly. My family, close friends and many of you helped me pray and deliberate over this decision. Ultimately, I made the decision to run knowing that I will be a champion for the Constitution, a voice for liberty in Congress, and serve the people of Georgia.”
Follow FYN for continued coverage as Election 2020 advances.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – With candidate qualification just three weeks away, House Representative Matt Gurtler continues to leave 8th District voters in the dark regarding which office he will pursue. Whether Gurtler will choose to remain the incumbent in the State House race or move toward a bid in the 50th State Senate or 9th Congressional districts remains a mystery.
As constituents question the elected official’s delay, it begs the question: What exactly is Gurtler waiting on?
Gurtler alluded to a potential State Senate, or U.S. Congressional House run, in a Feb. 4 social media post. “With the announcement of Congressman Doug Collins seeking the U.S. Senate seat, as well as our State Senator John Wilkinson’s seat opening up, I wanted to answer all your questions about whether I’m considering a run for either seat, the 9th Congressional or the 50th State Senate,” Gurtler stated, adding that he was “weighing my options.”
Last month, the second-term representative received substantial backlash on social media following a controversial “no” vote proclaimed to honor President Trump and the U.S. military. Challenging candidate Stan Gunter took aim at the self-professed conservative’s history of opposing Republican-backed bills at the State Capitol.
In turn, Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw weighed in on the matter at the Towns County Republican Party meeting on Jan. 16, shining a spotlight on Gurtler’s unpopular position with conservative officials in the State House. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred,” Gunter publicly reminded. “You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”
In response, Representative Gurtler issued a Feb. 6 rebuttal reminiscent of his 2018 campaign rhetoric. “The establishment, lead by (House Speaker David) Ralston himself, never give up, and unfortunately, because they’ve been in power for so long (back when many of them were Democrats), they have endless resources….” Gurtler stated in part. “Unfortunately, my opponent has decided to carry on the establishment torch.”
In a Feb. 6 statement to FYN, Gunter said that he is focused solely on the 8th District House. “I’m running my campaign as if (Gurtler) is still in it, which he is,” Gunter said. Gunter issued the statement following the news that Gurtler confirmed a low-profile visit to Washington D.C.
With time narrowing in, the elected official will have to reveal his hand sooner than later, announcing whether he wishes to continue representing the citizens of the 8th House District or attempt to secure a seat elsewhere.
Additional information can be found by clicking the highlighted links above.
Continue to follow FYN for campaign developments as Election 2020 approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga.- State House Representative Matt Gurtler, the incumbent in the 8th District race, continues to hold a clenched grip on his plans, seemingly wavering between whether to seek a third term in the State House or move toward a potential 50th State Senate or 9th Congressional District run. FYN received information that Gurtler was not in attendance at legislative sessions in Atlanta earlier this week, along with a tip that Gurtler was visiting Washington D.C. Gurtler confirmed on Wednesday evening that he was, in fact, in Washington. “I had an opportunity to meet with some great conservative leaders,” Gurtler told FYN in a brief statement.
Gurtler did not indicate if he has reached a decision, however, on which office he will seek. “I’m still praying, and making sure to get back to all those who have contacted (me) about the open seats in our beautiful mountains, especially my family, friends, and neighbors of the 8th District. I’m grateful for their support and input,” Gurtler said.
FYN reached out to 8th District House challenger, Stan Gunter, for his thoughts on Gurtler’s apparent indecisiveness. “There’s a lot of planning involved if (Gurtler) runs for the 9th Congressional District,” Gunter said. “I’m focused on this race. I’m running my campaign as if he is still in it, which he is.”
On Feb. 4, Gurtler indicated on social media that he has yet to reach a resolution, listing the 8th District House, the 50th State Senate, and the 9th Congressional District seats as options. “Whatever we decide to do and whatever seat I run for, or if I simply run for reelection, the purpose is always to continue the fight against the establishment and to defend our Constitution,” Gurtler stated in part. “Of course, my priority will be to serve my district and the People of Georgia as your State House Representative during the 2020 session. I will be sure to inform you once a decision is made, very soon.”
With qualification just weeks away, Gurtler is expected to announce the office that he intends to pursue in the near future.
Continue to follow FYN for local, state, and national election coverage as the May 19 primary approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Matt Gurtler, the 8th District State House Representative, issued a statement to FYN on Feb. 2, remaining seemingly indecisive on his next political move.
“I am considering a run and weighing my options for the 9th Congressional or the 50th State Senate seat,” Gurtler told FYN. “It is very rare for both seats to open up like this at the same time and is something we did not expect. My family and I are praying about this very important decision. Thank you to everyone for their support and encouragement these past several days. Whatever we decide to do and whatever seat I run for, I will continue to fight the establishment and defend our Constitution.”
With qualifying drawing near, Gurtler has a mere month to decide whether to attempt the retention of his 8th District seat or seek candidacy elsewhere. Qualification takes place during the first week of March, with the primary election set for Tuesday, May 19.
The 9th Congressional seat opened as a result of United States Representative Doug Collins’ aim toward the Georgia Senate. The 50th State Senate office opened following Senator John Wilkinson’s decision to seek the seat vacated by Collins.
Gurtler, the 8th District incumbent, has been challenged in the State House race by Stan Gunter. Gurtler was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2016, serving Towns, Rabun, Union, and portions of White counties. As of Wednesday, Gunter stated that he expects Gurtler to remain in the race, “anticipating (Gurtler) to qualify for (District 8) and be in the race in March.”
Gurtler declined an FYNTV.com interview prior to reaching a decision.
The 9th Congressional District consists of Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, White and portions of Clarke, Forsyth, and Pickens counties. The 50th Senatorial District includes Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties.
Continue to follow FYN for political coverage as 2020 election developments occur.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Stan Gunter, a challenger in the 8th District State House race, spoke with the Towns County Republican Party Jan. 16, reading House Resolution 882 meant to commend President Trump for his leadership, and the United States military, for taking down worldwide terrorist Qasem Soleimani.
The resolution was met with applause, but the mood quickly shifted when Gunter informed the local GOP that 8th District Representative Matt Gurtler voted against the resolution that very day. “That is a perfect example of why I got into this race,” Gunter said. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred. You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”
Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, who attended the meeting, asked candidate Gunter to touch upon the Hurricane Michael Relief Bill that Gurtler opposed 162-1 in 2018, drawing similarities between Gurtler’s most recent controversial vote.
FYN spoke with Gunter following the meeting, asking the State House candidate to weigh-in further on Gurtler’s obstinance toward House Resolution 882.
“The vote is obviously against President Trump and our armed forces, and I don’t understand why he would vote against something like that and vote with the Democrats,” Gunter told FYN. “It’s a party-line vote, but he’s voting with the Democrats. I don’t know what that says. I think that creates the problem with other Republicans down in the legislature, and that’s why he can’t get anything done. He’s antagonistic by the way that he votes, and he ruins those relationships.”
House Representative Gurtler indicated Friday morning that he intends to issue a press release on the hot topic.
WHITE COUNTY, Ga – Georgia District 8 State Rep. Matt Gurtler appeared to be the only House Republican to vote against HR 882, and he asked the public to read the entire resolution before making any conclusions.
“I support [President] Trump and our Armed Forces,” Gurtler told FYN over the phone. “He’s really been trying to keep us out of [middle east] wars. I think he’s shown immense restraint in doing that. This resolution was really a constitutional issue for me.”
The non-binding resolution praised the president and the military for the successful “operation that neutralized Qasem Soleimani.” Gurtler cited HR 882 as unconstitutional due to the disregard for Article 1, Section 8, and references to past president’s foreign policy. He urged constituents to read the document for themselves and come to a conclusion.
“War is a serious thing, and we want to do it right…In the Constitution, war powers [are] delegated to the legislative branch that’s Article 1, Section 8….When you look at the constitution, I can’t pick and choose which parts I want to uphold and which ones I don’t,” said Gurtler.
“If we want to go to war with any country, lets openly debate it,” said Gurtler. “Under the war powers act, we have not been doing that. We’ve been giving all the power to the executive with many different administrations.”
“Even in the resolution, it mentions [President] George W. Bush and his foreign policy, and Trump has criticized the past two administrations overwhelmingly about getting in entangled alliances with these foreign counties,” the District 8 Rep. explained.
Here’s an excerpt from HR 882 that mentions Bush’s foreign policy:
“President George W. Bush designated Iran as a pivotal part of the “Axis of Evil” that “aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.”
Gurtler agreed that the world is better off without the Iranian General Soleimani. If the resolution only asked the public to support Trump and our troops, Gurtler said he would have voted for it.
He viewed HR 882 as a “political stunt.” The no vote isn’t a disagreement over the neutralization of Soleimani, rather the role of executive and legislative branches of government. According to Gurtler, the resolution was pushed through within 24-hours, and no one knew it was coming until it landed on their desks. “We had more pressing business to attend to if this came up later in the session, that’s fine,” he commented.
The resolution passed 93-86, just over the majority needed.
In response to claims that Gurtler’s a closet Democrat, he said:
“It’s disingenuous. You have to look at what the resolution actually says, and what it’s approving of. Republican Senators and Representatives in the U.S. House share my same concerns.”
Stan Gunter, who is Gurtler’s opposition in the 2020 race for the District 8 seat, has commented on the issue as well.
“That is a perfect example of why I got into this race,” Gunter said. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred. You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”
Gurtler released a statement on the controversial vote Friday, Jan. 17, which can be seen in it’s entirety below:
The same establishment that passed the largest tax increase in Georgia history just a few years ago, and passed another $150 million tax increase yesterday somehow has the audacity to call themselves conservative.
It’s one more reason why we must be skeptical of their messaging, they don’t care about being consistent.
If I didn’t take my job as your representative seriously I could vote based on the one sentence explanations and propaganda Ralston gives us, and repeat those lies to you. I think Georgians deserve better, and just like at the national level with Trump, I think the people are starting to see through the political theatre.
I’m writing this today because the latest attack is that I didn’t vote for a resolution. As usual the main idea is something that sounds good, and I wish they would have simply stated “We support President Trump and the brave men and women of our military.” But instead they added in a bunch of misrepresentations of our Constitution and even used George W Bush as a reference about our involvement in the middle east.
The fact that there’s any positive mention of Bush means Trump himself wouldn’t have voted for this resolution, and I’ll happily stand with him on that. The important part is the misrepresentations of the Constitution. As Trump has said over and over, we should have never gotten into these stupid wars, and ignoring our Constitution is what allowed that in the first place.
Below is my official response, and as always I hope this helps you understand where I’m coming from. Thank you for your encouragement, it makes what I’m doing possible.
From day one, President Trump has wisely pointed out that over the last couple decades, the many foreign wars that our country has been dragged into have been stupid mistakes. They have also been dreadfully costly—both in terms of treasure and more importantly, American lives. Time and time again, who has the President always singled out? The last two administrations! George W. Bush, the one who started the whole thing, and Barack Obama, the one who made it even worse—by arming the very enemies who have threatened our brave men and women of the military.
War is very serious and President Trump inherited perpetual foreign conflicts that he has tried to end. The Deep State though, along with the military-industrial complex that our President talks about, has made much of this important task nearly unachievable. These are the same people by the way that have continually lied to the American public—first about the Russia hoax, and when that didn’t work, they lied to the American people about the Ukraine. Ever since, they have tried to impeach and remove the President over much ado about nothing.
I do understand the President’s difficult position though—he needs to defend America while defending himself at the same time, and I support him in his executive position.
I, on the other hand, am part of the state legislature, which rarely has any input over matters of war and peace. When we do though, I’m going to take that responsibility seriously and as my oath requires, I will always put the Constitution first—precisely when doing so may help avoid these huge, foolish wars to begin with.
War comes at the cost of blood, sweat, tears and American lives and should always be declared by a vote in Congress according to our founders and the US Constitution in Article 1 Section 8. The legislative branch holds the sole power to declare war. Passing a resolution like this—one filled with half truths and absurd conclusions—is insulting and demeaning to the Constitution to which every member of our strong military swore an oath to protect and defend.
While I agree the Iranian terrorist deserved what happened to him, we obviously won’t always have presidents who make good decisions unilaterally. And this is why the responsibility ultimately lies with the Congress. If I can help encourage the Congress to do their Constitutional job, I’m alright with taking a few arrows along the way.
That being said, I’m quite sure many of my colleagues only had good intentions and simply wanted to support President Trump and more importantly, offer support for our troops. However, I don’t think a resolution that condones and supports the bankrupt foreign policy of Barrack Obama and George W. Bush—which our president unfortunately had to inherit—is the best way to go about doing so.
Lastly, I don’t believe that Trump himself would vote for this meaningless resolution, as he would never utter one single positive thing about Georgia W. Bush and Barack Obama’s foolish, expensive quagmires in the quicksand of the Middle East.
Thank you very much for your support…and God Bless America, our president, and the men and women of our military—I for one can’t wait to bring them home!
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – District 8 House Representative Matt Gurtler returned to Atlanta last week to serve his second-term as a state legislator, continuing to push for House Bill 2, also known as Constitutional Carry, an edict which would make the Georgia Weapons License (GWL) optional for law-abiding Georgia residents.
Gurtler believes that with the help of newly-elected Governor Brian Kemp, a Second Amendment proponent who has shown support for Constitutional Carry in the past, that Georgia can join the list of numerous states who have passed bills in favor of the measure.
“If you would still like to get your GWL you can still do so and have reciprocity with other states. This bill, in effect, will keep Georgians from having to pay a tax on a right that is given to them by the Second Amendment,” Gurtler explained, “On Thursday morning, I, along with Colton Moore from District 1, spoke about our continued need for support and signatures from fellow House members to help push this bill along.”
Furthermore, Gurtler plans to meet with Governor Kemp in coming weeks to discuss House Bill 4, a plan to itemize divisions within the state budget. “This bill would divide our budgeting process into 49 separate departments, making both the House and the Senate responsible for voting on each individual department in order to make any changes,” Gurtler stated.
Representative Gurtler affirms that he will continue to relay information to District 8 residents.
“I want to continue to be as accessible and transparent with (the citizens) as I possibly can. This includes access to myself, information regarding each of my votes, and an explanation of why I voted Yes or No on any particular bill,” Gurtler confirmed.
Legislative Day 5 convenes at 10:00 am, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A month has passed since Georgia State House Representative Matt Gurtler was reelected to serve a second term, and Gurtler says a “no nonsense, limited government, conservative message” was heard “loud and clear.”
State House District 8 – which is composed of Towns, Rabuns, Union, and White Counties – received the highest voter turnout in Georgia during the 2018 General Primary, with nearly ten thousand ballots cast. The 29-year-old contractor from Tiger, Georgia, retained his seat under the Gold Dome, earning 60 percent of the vote on May 22, 2018.
In what the Republican representative referred to as an “historic election,” Gurtler reiterated that prior to this year’s primary, it was unprecedented for a sitting governor or state speaker to actively campaign against an incumbent within their own party. Gurtler’s challenger was heavily funded, and rally-endorsed by state-level GOP leadership.
“The entrenched, big government, establishment politicians showed their true colors, and opposition to real conservatives,” Gurtler expressed, “They don’t want limited conservative conservatives at the State Capitol, and will oust dissenters who question the process and their crony capitalist agendas.”
Gurtler went on to say that by exercising independent legislative judgement, and adhering to what he considers the true principles of the Republican Party, political opposition outside of the district ensued. “There is a swamp in Atlanta too, and they are afraid of losing their power, and of anyone who says no,” Gurtler claims, “Because I stand for limited government, less taxes, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and free markets, I threaten the establishment.
“For the last two years, I’ve stood up to the establishment, even when it had a political cost, or public perception was counter-intuitive,” Gurtler continued, “Our no nonsense, limited government, conservative message has been heard loud and clear in this election, and I will continue to lead by example, and be the conscience of the party.”
The representative says that in the coming months, he will draft and perfect previously-introduced legislation, and continue to push forth House Bill 156, Constitutional Carry, which was initially introduced by Gurtler in early 2017. “Fifteen states have passed Constitutional Carry, and I will be working hard to ensure it passes this coming session, and with the new governor’s help, we have a real chance to have Constitutional Carry in Georgia next year,” Gurtler explained, “Constitutional Carry will make the Georgia Licence Permit optional for law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t have to pay the government, or be treated like a criminal in order to exercise a natural right.”
Gurtler states he plans to hold a series of local town hall meetings prior to the commencement of the 2019 legislative session.
“The people simply want honest politicians, and government to get out of their lives,” Gurtler asserted, “They want people to call out the establishment, call out the corruption, the waste, and the handouts. For far too long, politicians have been counting on you to not pay attention, but as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ We must always be fighting, and that is the charge I will continue to take at the Capitol these next two years.”