Congressional special election debate heats up

Special Election Campaign Infographic.

Special Election Campaign Infographic.

Ayelet Bernstein, Arts and Culture Editor

On February 10th, 2017, President Donald Trump announced Secretary Tom Price as his pick for Health and Human Services Secretary. As a result, Secretary Price will be leaving his position as Georgia’s 6th district congressman, in order to join the ranks of President Trump’s Cabinet. There are eighteen congressional candidates currently running to replace Secretary Price in a special election on April 18th, 2017. The candidates range in political affiliation, perspective, and experience. Their names and parties are as follows;  Judson Hill (R), Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan (R), Bob Gray (R), Dan Moody(R), Karen Handel (R), Bruce LeVell (R), David Abroms (R), Keith Grawert (R), Amy Kremer (R), William Llop (R), Kurt Wilson (R), Ron Slotin (D), Jon Ossoff (D), Ragin Edwards (D), Richard Keatley (D), Rebecca Quigg (D), Alexander Hernandez (I), and Andre Pollard (I).

According to New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore, this year’s special election is “a ‘jungle primary’ in which the top two finishers regardless of party will proceed to a runoff (June 20th, 2017), except in the unlikely event someone wins a majority the first time around.” Even within the same party, the eleven Republican Candidates have diversified platforms. Candidates such as Karen Handel and David Abroms are running on a broad platform of standing up, and bringing back, conservative values, while candidates such as Amy Kremer and the first Republican Muslim to run for office, Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan,  postulate the government’s over reliance on special interest groups and the misuse of government funds. Candidate Bruce LeVell hinges his campaign heavily on the impact of his relationship with President Donald Trump, and his position as Director of the National Diversity Coalition on President Trump’s political campaign, despite statistics showing that President Trump only won the 6th district vote by 1% in the last election. Also a major President Trump Supporter, Bob Gray speaks out for change, claiming that its time an outside business executive be in congress.

Retired veterans Keith Grawert and Dan Moody, fight for values of public service and taking action.  Dan Moody stands claims that “the time for talking is over and the time for doing has arrived” and Keith Grawert displays himself as a commonsense conservative committed to public service. Candidates such as William Llop and Kurt Wilson have very specific agendas. William Llop promises to lower taxes, claiming that his experience as an accountant gives him the knowledge of financial responsibility needed to take to congress, while Kurt Wilson promises a constitutional amendment enacting term limits for members of congress. Last and certainly not least, former Assistant United States Attorney, Judson Hill promises to work along HHS Secretary Tom Price and President Donald Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Democratic candidates such as Richard Keatley and Rebecca Quigg fight against the privatization of healthcare and to expand and improve the ACA, while others, like Jon Ossoff, focus more on unifying the nation through core American values. Former State Senator, Ron Slotin, is running on a platform of public service and giving back to the community with jobs and protections, but Ragin Edwards says truth and transparency are the key to success- no strings attached. Independent candidates Alexander Hernandez and Andre Pollard are running on private and more specific platforms. Alexander Hernandez is running of the Constitution and Independence platform, while Andre Pollard advocates for the tech party; promoting women, inner city kids, welfare recipients, and America as a whole into technology.

The race is on, and the runoff is party-ignorant, so if you’re 18 or will be by March 20th, register to vote and come support your party in this special election.