The statewide general primary and nonpartisan election will move forward today without Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams.
Blocker-Adams formally withdrew from the race early Monday, Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said.
The move means any votes cast for her in advance or on Election Day “are considered null and shall not be counted,” Bailey said.
Notices will be placed in each precinct today to inform voters that though her name is on the ballot, Blocker-Adams is no longer a candidate.
Her decision leaves four remaining mayoral candidates: Charles Cummings, state Sen. Hardie Davis, Commissioner Alvin Mason and Lori Myles.
In a four-paragraph statement, Blocker-Adams said she awakened at 3 a.m. Sunday with the realization that “I could not be an effective mayor.”
“Even if I stayed in the race and won or was in a runoff, they would continue to work toward running my name into the ground, and I don’t want that for
my family,” the statement said.
Last week, one of Blocker-Adams’ creditors provided to news media copies of three unpaid Aiken County court judgments against her from more than a decade ago exceeding $70,000.
Subsequently, The Augusta Chronicle became aware of more than 40 eviction or dispossessory notices served against her since 2005, when she first ran for mayor.
After the reports, Blocker-Adams announced Thursday that she was “suspending” her campaign but did
not formally withdraw, meaning her votes would be counted.
Any votes now for Blocker-Adams won’t be counted and won’t appear in ballot totals, although turnout in other races will give an indication of the level of support she had, Bailey said.
Blocker-Adams, who billed herself as an entrepreneur and pro-business candidate, said that “this past week has been the worst in my life, and as horrible and painful as it was, it
showed me in the past 20 years I have been too prideful, too independent and in denial about my personal finances.”
She said she hadn’t been “transparent” with her campaign team, which
denied having advance knowledge of her financial issues.
“I will make right by every debt I have incurred. I will work to mend the trust that I have lost and rebuild the relationships that were damaged,” she said in her statement. “I appreciate every single vote that may have already been cast for me, and now it is time to do what is best for the city I love, Augusta, Ga.”
Blocker-Adams said she had intended to stay in the race and allow her supporters’ votes to be counted but determined Sunday night that “it would cost the taxpayers in Augusta-Richmond County money to have my name withdrawn after the race.”
Davis and Mason both declined to comment on Blocker-Adams’ decision. Myles said, “I hate that this happened to her in the midnight hour,” and wished Blocker-Adams well.
Cummings said he hoped to get some of her supporters.
Republican elections observer Dave Barbee said he expected Blocker-Adams’ decision to benefit Davis the most.
“It shrunk the pool,” Barbee said, making the 50 percent of votes plus one needed to win outright a possibility for Davis, who garnered 36 percent of votes in a May 1 landline poll to Blocker-Adams’ second-place 16 percent.
Bailey said she expected between 30 and 40 percent of Augusta’s 100,000 registered voters to participate in the election.
About 6,617 people voted early during 16 days of advance voting, including about 2,600 who cast ballots before Blocker-Adams’
financial issues becoming public.