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Monday, August 9, 2010 - 4:42am

Graves Or Hawkins Decision Again In Front Of 9th District Voters

On Tuesday, voters in north Georgia’s 9th Congressional District go to the polls for a fourth time in just over 90 days.

Challenger Lee Hawkins is trying to find a way to turn more support his way in the runoff against short time incumbent Tom Graves.

Graves was elected by the district in June to go to Washington to fill the seat of Nathan Deal, who’s running for governor. That election was a only to fill the current term…tomorrow is the runoff to decide who will serve the next two years.

Hawkins has made a lawsuit against Graves over business dealings his major campaign issue. The Bartow County Bank says Graves defaulted on a two-and-a-quarter million dollar loan. And Hawkins says voters aren’t getting the full story.

“This isn’t a big New York City bank, this is a small community bank. So he’s defrauded the people of that community, and I think when people understand that, they’re not going to be happy with their Congressman.”

But Graves says this is a classic business dispute that happens every day in Georgia.

“We’ve been very forthcoming saying ‘this is a business dispute and we’re working through it. Very positive conversation going on with all parties, it will be resolved. And there’s a process for which it will be resolved.”

In the June election, Graves won 12 of the conservative district’s 15 counties, taking 56 percent of the vote. But Hawkins says he can cut into that support.

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