On Tuesday, voters will decide which of two experienced politicians will represent the Republican Party in the race for State Senate District 9.
Former Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau and former Lawrenceville City Councilman P.K. Martin edged out long-time State Sen. Don Balfour in the May primary. The winner of the July 22 runoff will face Democrat Timothy Swiney in the November general election.
Both Republican candidates have touted their conservative credentials during the campaign while questioning their opponent’s record.
“I actually have a proven conservative record that the people of District 9 can trust while my opponent simply claims he is conservative,” Martin said. “The reality is that I cut taxes on the Lawrenceville City Council. My opponent supported policies from spending millions on questionable land deals to a $64 million sports stadium that resulted in tax increases. I have never voted myself a pay raise. My opponent has.”
Martin also referenced the controversial county trash plan, accusing Beaudreau of eliminating free markets and taxpayer choice.
According to Beaudreau, he has a proven track record of never voting for a tax increase.
“At their doorstep, citizens have told me they are tired of Republicans who say they are conservative and then vote for tax increases on multiple occasions,” he said.
Beaudreau added he has vowed to support and sponsor legislation to establish term limits for all legislators and has already secured the commitment of a senior state senator to co-sponsor the legislation.
“I am the public servant that will actually vote our conservative values down at the Capitol,” he said. “That is why I have been endorsed by the two largest tea party groups in Georgia, and by Georgia Right to Life. Also, I have the endorsement of virtually every Republican state legislator in this district.”
While both tout conservative credentials, Martin said what sets him apart from his opponent is temperament and leadership style.
“As a former member of the Lawrenceville City Council, I always listened to the people I represented,” he said. “We may not have always agreed, but I didn’t shout them down. I treated everyone and all sides with respect.”
Martin said if elected, he would continue “the same conservative record of listening to the people and leading by example in the Senate.”
Beaudreau disputed Martin’s assessment of his interactions with constituents.
“I think that, unlike Mr. Martin, I have a track record of actually having town hall meetings,” he said. “I had 96 straight Saturdays, once a month, where I would have town hall meetings.”
Beaudreau added he has also attended all forums and debates during the state senate race.
“My opponent only attended half, including skipping the Georgia Public Television debate,” he said. “I ended up debating an empty chair in these debates.”
“That shows you right there who actually wants to listen to constituents and be proactive about doing things,” Beaudreau said.
Though the candidates may differ in other regards, both share a deep sense of gratitude for their supporters.
“I am honored by the support I have received so far in this campaign, and I do not take the trust placed in me lightly,” Martin said. “This campaign isn’t about me. It isn’t about a title. It’s about a new direction for our community … I will lead by example, restore your trust and make you proud.”
Beaudreau also had a message of thanks for his supporters.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for believing in me,” he said. “With God’s help, I will do everything in my power to make you proud. I have enjoyed meeting with the thousands of you I have met on this journey. Whether it was discussing an issue, talking about a struggle that you or I was going through, or whether we prayed together, I valued each and every one of these opportunities.”
State Senate District 9 includes parts of Dacula, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Loganville and Snellville.