Negative mailers targeted both candidates and as a series of ethics complaints against each candidate have surfaced during the hotly debated race.
Rogers, 44, has served 10 years in the General Assembly and four of those as Senate majority leader.
Beach, 51, is a former Alpharetta City Council member and president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
Both say those experiences have helped prepared them for the job they seek.
Beach says his years in the business arena have helped prepare him.
“I understand private sector job creation. I have seen firsthand the impact of over-regulation; taxation and litigation on businesses of all sizes. I believe,” Beach said on what makes him most qualified.
Rogers says his position as a leader among conservatives make him the best candidate.
“As Senate Majority Leader I have been, and will continue to be, the leading conservative voice in Georgia government,” Rogers said. “I am fully committed to liberty and believe Georgia can be the most prosperous and well-educated state in America if we promote economic, education, and personal freedom.”
At the heart of the race has been the battle in Cherokee County about charter schools and local control.
Rogers says he supports House Resolution 1162, which goes to voters in November and broadens the state’s powers in school choice.
“I trust the voters of the state of Georgia, so yes, I support this Resolution. I cannot imagine anyone who would oppose allowing the voters to make this decision,’ Roger said. “The Resolution clearly defines that the tax dollars to support public charter schools will not come at the expense of regular public schools. However, it is important to remember funding is for students, not systems or school buildings. I support funding students for the education their parents determine is best, not what government thinks is best.”
Beach says he is against the measure.
“While HR 1162 is now in the voter’s hands, I cannot support it,” Beach said. “The basic tenet of the Republican platform is local control. Charter schools should be authorized by local school boards not a distant unelected board in Atlanta.”
Both men say they are looking for new answers for state education funding.
Beach says Quality Basic Education is broken and the state needs to find a new formula to send more money to schools.
“Great education is the cornerstone of vibrant and prosperous communities,” Beach said. “Georgia needs a workable and reliable formula so school systems can budget.”
Since 2002 the state share of kindergarten through 12th grade education funding for Cherokee has dropped from a 60/40 state local split to the current split of 46/53, Beach said.
“We must reform the “Fair Share” program that sends the first 5 mills of your school tax to the state to be spread around to other districts. The state needs to impose a revenue cap with this program,” Beach said.
Rogers blasted QBE, calling it a Democratic formula.
“QBE is a disaster,” he said. “It has long ago outlived its usefulness. State spending on K-12 education to Cherokee County has increased the last 10 years from $100 million to $148 million.”
“The per-pupil spending has also increased, accounting for all student growth. However, the judgment of our educational system should be based on raising student performance and graduating kids from high school, not how much money we spend,” Rogers said.