Richmond County sheriff’s candidate Freddie Sanders opened his south Augusta headquarters on Peach Orchard Road with hot dogs, sweet tea and live music Saturday.
Up and down the 3100 block, Sanders supporters were standing on the road waving, holding signs and speaking to those stopped at the light nearby. Inside the building, Augustans registered to vote.
“We have had a great turnout,” Sanders said. “We registered a lot of young voters, so if nothing else, we feel good about that.”
Sanders, a former sheriff’s deputy and chief of the pre-consolidation Richmond County Police Department, was on hand in a bright yellow shirt. He said he would be sitting in with the band – he plays the guitar, banjo and mandolin – before the day was done.
The large building at 3128 Peach Orchard Road is in a high traffic area, near a Waffle House, IHOP and a few banks, which is why Sanders said the campaign chose the spot.
“It is centrally located,” he said. “The traffic is tremendous out here.”
Sanders has another office in east Augusta, but he said it was important to have his headquarters near the center of the county. He said he will be in the new building on election night. He is running on the Republican ticket, opposite Richmond County schools Lt. Richard Roundtree, whose headquarters are on Broad Street downtown.
Outside the building, a band was set up on the bed of a truck and played country tunes to the delight of the sign-holders.
April and Greg Meyers, family friends of Sanders, were energetically waving and talking to people in cars driving by.
“We’re telling them to come on in and get a hot dog and meet Freddie,” she said.
Sanders said the building would be fully staffed in the next week.
He said he had waited until a month before the Nov. 6 election because he and his team were recovering from the primary.
“Everyone needed a little downtime,” he said. “I’ve been running for nine months.”
Sanders said he has a few speaking engagements set up soon, and a Freddie Sanders for Sheriff golf tournament will be held Thursday at the Green Meadows Country Club.
Jimmy Smith, a former commissioner from District 8, attended the event to support his friend.
“I have been a Freddie fan all his life,” he said. “This is a lifelong dream of his, and he is as qualified as a person could be.”
Sanders said he hopes to convince potential voters of his dedication to being a fair sheriff and that his plan is to keep the community safe.
“That’s what I’m gonna do,” he said.