RINCON — Dr. Scott Bohlke didn’t stop running — even for a minute — after reaching the finish line in the June 9 Georgia Senate District 4 Republican primary.
Bohlke came in a strong second to Billy Hickman (11,190-9,683) in the four-candidate field as both qualified for an Aug. 11 runoff. The winner is assured of the post because the Democrats didn’t field a candidate.
“When you go from a primary to a runoff, there is no time for rest in between,” Bohlke said. "That’s kind of where we are right now.”
COVID-19 has been an omnipresent figure in the campaign. It forced a delay of the primary, which was originally set May 11.
The disease has also been an issue as it has impacted virtually every aspect of life, including commerce, religion and families.
The highly contagious respiratory disease is currently impacting education as many school districts have wondered if they should open next month as planned. Gov. Brian Kemp left the decision to local school boards.
“I am for the schools making that decision,” Bohlke said. “Number one, I think going back to school is very beneficial for some kids because of the socialization and various other things that they learn outside of the book work. Number two, I think all the school systems in this district are offering virtual learning as well and letting the parents decide which way they want to go.”
Bohlke, a Brooklet physician, recently sat down with Effingham County school officials and learned how they planned to operate safely during the pandemic. Nearly 25 percent of the district’s nearly 13,000 students will participate in virtual learning.
“Giving people options, I think, is the best way to go,” Bohlke said.
COVID-19 has also put the governor at odds with several city leaders in the state. Atlanta, Savannah and Guyton are just a few cities that have instituted a mask mandate, which violates Kemp’s order that local governments can’t enact stricter COVID-19 measures than are contained in his emergency orders.
“I think people should wear masks out in public,” Bohlke said. “In large gatherings, I think it is very, very good. I am always a little concerned about government overreach but in certain public emergencies — this is perhaps something that should supercede that.
“Am I in favor of wearing masks? Yes. Do I need the government to tell me that? I think everyone should have the common sense to kind of understand that.”
On another hot topic, Bohlke voiced support for law enforcement. Officers across the country, including Atlanta, have come under attack since May 25 when George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minn., with Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed on his neck.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder.
“I don’t have the answer to that but I’m all for whatever we can do (to defend good officers),” Bohlke said. “Think about what they are doing on a daily basis and how much they get paid. The disrespect that they are getting right now, to me, is really appalling.
“If I was married to a police officer, how could you send your loved one out knowing that they are putting themselves in harm’s way for people who don’t understand what is going on? It’s unbelievable.
“... Are there bad policemen? Yes, but not all of them are. We are painting with too broad of a brush with a lot of things in our society and we need to quit doing that.”
Bohlke also believes that farmers warrant more respect. He recently met with a group of them in Claxton.
“We are trying to find out what their issues are,” Bohlke said. “They need tort reform. Their liability insurance is going up just like it is for other small businesses.
“... I want to do whatever we can to help them because the old family farm is dying away.”
Early voting for the Bohlke-Hickman runoff is underway.