District 67 candidates spend final days campaigning, seeking votes

Published 8:19 pm Saturday, April 15, 2017

When the polls close Tuesday night and the votes are all tallied, District 67 will have a new state representative in the House.

Whether it is Prince Chestnut or Tremayne “Toby” Gorden, that is up to the voters of Dallas and parts of Perry County in a special general election.

Chestnut had a strong showing in the primary at the end of January, earning nearly 70 percent of the vote and defeating three others on the ballot. Days later Gorden qualified after the Secretary of State’s Office reviewed a petition to get his name on the ballot as an independent candidate.

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In what many thought was a race that had run its course, that moment set the stage for Tuesday’s election.

“What happened in the primary won’t matter if they don’t show back up this time. This is it,” Chestnut said with just a few days to go until election day. “It’s similar to running in the Olympics. You have your qualifying run, and then later on you’ve got the one that really counts, and this is the one that really counts. I just hope that the same folks will turn out and additional folks will turn out too.”

Over the last few weeks both have been busy campaigning and getting commitments from their supporters.

Gorden, a businessman of about 15 years, said he is leaning heavily on his customer base at CT Wireless, a communication that offers cellular and landline telephone service, among other services.

“To be honest, with this being a special election and me being kind of known throughout the community, I’m kind of just standing on that as well as my place in the community being a business owner,” Gorden said. “I know that with this being this type of election, typically the turnout is going to be on the low end, so it makes sense to use your resources wisely.”

Chestnut, a lawyer and municipal judge for the city of Selma, is asking his supporters to go back to the polls and show their support again and is focusing on people outside of Selma.

“We’ve done it before. Let’s do it again, and this time let’s make our voice heard in a very, very strong way,” Chestnut said. “I’m hoping for a success, and I believe I will be successful, but my success depends on people moving their feet and going to the polls and voting.”

Gorden said he is pledging to take half of the salary if elected by District 67.

“I’ll make a pledge if given the next opportunity to be the next state representative. I will take half of the income and use that to be able to help the citizens of Selma when it comes to seniors and when it comes to being a victim of crime dealing with gun violence,” he said.

Gorden said he took a similar stance when he ran for president of the Selma City Council. He is campaigning on finding ways to eliminate taxes, while Chestnut is focusing on what he said supporters told him were key issues in District 67 – more jobs and less crime.

“If you want to have a hand in selecting your next representative, here’s your shot. There could not be a more clear case of a distinction between two candidates as this, but it’s the people’s choice,” Chestnut said. “I will let my record speak for itself, and I will let my integrity speak for itself, and I will just say that it’s the people’s choice. They decide.”

Polls will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and close at 7 p.m.