Talton reflects on primary defeat | News
Willie Talton, the only African American Republican in the Georgia legislature, lost Tuesday night's primary race to Heath Clark.
"I don't like a loss, but I accept what the people have said and I give thanks to them for letting me serve for the past 10 years as their representative and hopefully that I have made a difference in District 147," Talton said Wednesday.
13WMAZ reported earlier this month that Talton owes the county $38,000 in unpaid property taxes and fees.
Talton said that could have effected voters' decision.
"I have seen some of it on Facebook where people have held that against me. I'm a working man that owns some property that I rent to middle class people, people that are not able to own their own property and living under substance and when they can't pay, I can't pay," said Talton.
Clark, who has never held public office, said he isn't sure if Talton's tax situation influenced voters. But that he wanted people to vote for him not just against his opponent.
"I don't know what was going on in the voters minds when they stepped in the booth. I do know that a lot of people made a lot of comments when we were out there knocking on their doors, (to) either myself or my volunteers, about how appreciative they were of having a candidate willing to come to their door. They haven't had that happen for them before and so maybe it did a little bit, maybe they were on the fence and that might have pushed them over the edge," said Clark.
Taxes aren't the only thing Talton said could have effected outcome. He saw Facebook comments stating he was anti-Second Amendment. He said that's not true and he believes in the right to bear arms. Talton, who's 70 years old, wishes Clark the best and offered him advice.
"It's a lot to learn there. You don't go there feeling like you can solve everything. You always have to maintain the fact that you only have but one vote. And you have to work with people to get something done. Some things that you'll want to introduce won't make it out of committee. So you just have to learn how to work the system to try to get it done," said Talton.
"I appreciate the advice," Clark said. "I know that there's a lot I have to learn procedurally and with the processes and the way things go. I fully intend to approach this with a level of humility knowing that I'm new to the process."
Talton said he isn't sure if he will run again and will take this time to focus on his approximately 75 properties and spending time with family.
He said he plans to pay $7,000 to $8,000 toward his outstanding property taxes this month.