12th Congressional District candidates speak at Augusta forum

 Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the military branch in which Wright McLeod served.


Four Republicans, three from the Augusta area, touted their conservative values and supportive spouses at a Valentine’s Day meeting of the Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government.

Maria Sheffield, Wright McLeod, Grovetown Rep. Lee Anderson and Rick Allen introduced themselves to the group gathered for a fried fish dinner as the best Republican to defeat Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow in November.

Anderson said that in the Georgia Legislature, he helped draw the new 12th Congressional District, which now takes in all of Richmond County and most of Colum­bia County, giving Republicans a better chance of winning the district.

Richmond and Columbia counties now comprise half of the 12th, with the remainder to the south “just good, solid rural farm counties,” Anderson said, “and that’s what I do for a living: I’m a farmer and a businessman.”

Allen, a Columbia County native, spoke of graduating from Evans High School “when it was not fashionable,” then founding R.W. Allen Construction 35 years ago. He described a leadership style that had evolved from a “driven leader” to a “servant leader” over time.

McLeod, a real estate attorney, cited his Navy career and a desire to return to public service. He and his family have committed the next eight months to winning the 12th District to save the nation from decline, he said.

Sheffield, who ran for Georgia insurance commissioner two years ago, spoke of losing her parents at an early age, caring for a sick grandmother and attaining master’s degrees and a law degree by age 25 because she didn’t have “a safety net.” She complimented the Good Government group for maintaining an interest in government affairs at a local level.

The group, which regularly provides a forum for local and state candidates, had a full house for the congressional candidates Tuesday.

Member John Luther said the four were “well-educated, well-received and well-spoken people,” and that the group would have a tough time when it conducts a poll of which would be best in Congress.