Being at the center of a highly contested and closely watched congressional race, the Columbia County offices of the Republican and Democratic parties are both hoping for a heavy voter turnout.
Considered, along with Richmond County, as a make-or-break territory in the 12th District Congressional race between Democratic incumbent John Barrow and Republican challenger Lee Anderson, both party offices are expending considerable resources promoting their respective candidates.
Both parties believe that victory hinges on getting people to the polls.
“That’s one of the main things we are going to do,” said Columbia County Republican Party Finance Chairman John Apostol. “We’re really focusing on a get-out-the-vote campaign.”
At the Democratic Party Headquarters, just east of its GOP counterpart on Washington Road, considerable attention is being focused on registering first-time voters.
“We feel like we have to get people registered and we have to get them out,” said Columbia County Democratic Party Chairman Floyd Everett. “For us, every meeting we have is a voting drive.”
While the local GOP is actively supporting and campaigning for Anderson, Apostol said he thinks the challenger will take Columbia County despite a somewhat disappointing showing in the Republican Primary runoff, where Rick Allen won the county.
“We are pushing Lee heavily, but we think Lee will do well,” he said. “I mean, all the people I know are Republican and I haven’t heard one person say they were going to vote for John Barrow.”
Everett acknowledged that Columbia County has, historically speaking, voted Republican, and the fact that Anderson lives in the county makes him a particularly strong candidate. Still, he believes if the Democratic party can introduce voters to John Barrow, it might make a difference come election night.
“There is an education process that needs to happen,” he said. “That’s where we come in. And that’s not only appealing, we feel like it is doable. We think we can get the job done.”