Top local Democrats mobilizing, discuss recent DUI by GOP candidate
Early Voting in the state of Georgia begins in less than two months, believe it or not.
Baldwin County is in a unique position, as local voters later this year will choose a new Congressman, a new State Senator and a new State Representative. The District 133 race became more notable after Republican candidate Ken Vance was arrested and charged with DUI on his way to the north Georgia mountains on June 3.
Vance was on his way to his 50th high school reunion in Rabun Gap, and the DUI occurred around lunchtime. Vance said that he "was not drinking that day" and "had drank the night before and was tired and decided to pull over for a little nap like you're supposed to do when you're tired."
The Georgia Gazette news outlet recently posted Ken Vance's booking photo on its website, which can be viewed here. Vance was charged with DUI, open container and improper stopping on roadway.
Vance, who previously served 28 years on the Milledgeville City Council, ran unopposed earlier this year in the GOP Primary. Vance's Democratic opponent, Hoganne Harrison-Walton, as well as several other top local Democrats, recently reached out to Baldwin2k News to respond to the news of Vance's DUI.
Wrote Harrison–Walton: "The recent arrest of Kenneth Vance, on the charges of DUI, open container, and improper stopping on the roadway, are a true reflection of his values. Mr. Vance placed the community in danger and there is no excuse for his actions. If he, a law enforcement veteran, is willing to take such a selfish, harmful action, how can he be trusted to serve his district integrity? No one should hold a political position when they flagrantly disregard the law. Baldwin and Jones County deserve leadership that will lead by example. We do not need elected officials violating laws meant to protect us. We do not need elected officials that believe the law does not apply to their actions. Jones and Baldwin County are the quintessential communities where we take pride in knowing our elected officials are creating laws that benefits everyone and are not engaging in destructive behavior."
Former Milledgeville mayor Floyd Griffin, who didn't always see eye-to-eye with Vance when he was mayor and Vance was on the City Council, called Vance's DUI arrest "very significant."
"It should be taken very seriously voters in this district," said Griffin, also a former State Senator. "I don't think that it should disqualify him, because there are rules pertaining to that. But, I do think that it should be taken vetery seriously by voters."
Followng the arrest, Vance didn't shy away from the media, granting interviews with several reporters and speaking openly about the situation. Vance spoke with Baldwin2k News earlier this week.
"I made a mistake. I held my hand up and said 'I'm wrong and tell me what to.' I did what I was told to to by the courts, and now it's over with. I didn't want to be treated like anybody else," he said. "I made a mistake, and I'm moving forward."
Vance previously spent 13 years as the executive director of the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, a state agency. The P.O.S.T., according to its website, "administers the regulatory process, sets the standards for training and certification, and provides essential technical assistance to the law enforcement community."
Vance said that he's now "focusing on the campaign," adding that his "40-odd years of experience" makes him the best candidate to represent District 133.
"Being the head of a state agency and my 28 years on the City Council and my overall record of public service is what I would say," he said. "I know a good bit about how Atlanta works. I'll never know everything about how Atlanta works, but I'd say that my learning curve would be significantly less than someone who doesn't have my experience."
Harrison-Walton, meanwhile, promises "to lead by example."
"My entire legal career and community activism are dedicated to leading by example. I have devoted of my career to ensuring that children are in safe environments. I have given countless hours to benefit veterans and senior citizens in the area of estate planning to ensure proper medical attention and daily needs are meet," she wrote in a release to Baldwin2k. "I am a candidate that will serve this community and no one will ever have to fear that I will place myself before the community. The health and safety of Georgians will be my priority and I will do all I can while representing the people of Baldwin and Jones County. Jones and Baldwin County show that you want a leader that will not place you in danger."
For many years, seemingly forever, Baldwin County was in Dist. 145. Baldwin is now Dist. 133, which also includes several precincts in Jones County. Dist. 133 would be considered a Republican-leaning district. While Baldwin County is relatively "purple," the district's precincts in Jones County are solid red.
This is Harrison-Walton's second go-around at elected office. In 2020, she ran for Baldwin County Solicitor General, when she was defeated by Republican challenger Skye Gess by a vote count of 9,525-8,203.