One of the more competitive and interesting state races is House District 173 which pits incumbent Republican Darlene Taylor and Democrat Keith Jenkins who is a political newcomer. Even though both are from Thomasville, it is a strong likelihood that this race will come down to how each candidate does in neighboring Grady County –home of baseball great Jackie Robinson and the city of Cairo.
Voter turnout will decide who will represent House District 173. This time around there appears to be a higher level of interest among Democrats along with minority voters and it has provided an opportunity for statewide Democrats such as gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter and U.S Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn a stronger chance to win their own statewide races, but increased turnout in rural Democratic strongholds such as Thomasville, Cairo, Attapulgus and parts of Bainbridge can push the Democratic candidate to victory in South Georgia.
Jenkins and his campaign have been busy touring the three-county district (Thomas, Grady and Decatur) and had visited Cairo to attend the 3rd Annual Stepping Out Against Domestic Violence Walk and has plans to revisit the city this weekend. Why is Grady County important? Grady County represents approximately 37 percent of the registered voters in House District 173. In the city of Cairo, according to the Census, the city has a poverty rate of 41 percent. Overall, Grady County has a 28 percent poverty rate. The state average is 17%. Demographically, the city of Cairo– approximately 10,000 in population– is a majority-minority city with a 65 percent non-white population (48% African-American and 14 percent Hispanic).
On Wednesday, October 22, Republican Darlene Taylor met with a group of women in her hometown of Thomasville and spoke about the importance of their voice and their vote in the upcoming election. Taylor told South Georgia’s WALB-TV that voter apathy is a huge problem among women in this country.
Taylor said, “Learn the issues and make their voice heard. Find something to believe in and work for it. Voting is a big part of that. Women want to hear about the issues. They want to know what to do. And I hope this will encourage them to stand up and speak out.”
Recently, Taylor and Jenkins had met in Cairo at the Roddenberry Memorial Library for a debate. One of the main topics was education.
Jenkins has worked with the Thomas County Public Schools and public education is important to him and had said the following on his website: “We must preserve quality public school education with innovations to increase productivity while fostering a properly funded environment of success, teamwork and ingenuity. Our country is strongest when our children are happy, healthy and well-educated. A second rate education system is not an option. Georgia needs to focus on it’s own greatest infrastructural resource – it’s future – the children of the Peach State.”