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Aitken, Fennoy move into runoff in District 1

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District 1 candidate Butch Palmer (right) speaks with supporter Phil Williams. The community activist finished third. He would not say whether he would offer his support to another candidate.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
District 1 candidate Butch Palmer (right) speaks with supporter Phil Williams. The community activist finished third. He would not say whether he would offer his support to another candidate.

The race for the District 1 Augusta Commission seat will be decided in a Dec. 1 runoff between Matt Aitken and Bill Fennoy.

Mr. Aitken, a compressor building operator for Olin Corp., bucked conventional wisdom and finished first in a district that's 65 percent black and hasn't had a white representative since city-county consolidation.

District 1 was first represented by Lee Beard, then by his widow, Betty Beard, who decided not to seek another term.

With 2,309 votes cast, Mr. Aitken received 928 votes for 40.19 percent.

Mr. Fennoy, a part-time intake officer for the Department of Juvenile Justice, retired educator for the Richmond County Health Department and former member of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, received 748 votes for 32.39 percent.

Harrisburg activist and landlord Butch Palmer came in third with 430 votes, or 18.62 percent, and event planner JoRae Jenkins placed last with 202 votes for 8.75 percent.

Mr. Aitken said the credibility he has built up in the community since his release from prison for drug charges in 1990 -- such as his prison ministry, his inner-city outreach work with Agape Ministries and his work for the Martin Luther King Observance Committee -- made the difference.

"Whether they believe in me or not, they respect what I've done," Mr. Aitken said. "I've been an underdog all my life, and I continue to overcome obstacles."

Ralph Walker, a political science professor at Augusta State University, said what also made a difference was Mr. Aitken's lead in fundraising. He collected $13,130 to Mr. Fennoy's $10,913, Mr. Palmer's $6,000 and Ms. Jenkins' $2,450.

"He had by far the most advertising out there, and it paid off," Dr. Walker said.

Mr. Fennoy said he had hoped to win without a runoff, and he didn't expect to come in second place.

"Between now and Dec. 1," he said, "I'm going to focus on getting people out to vote, getting my agenda out to the people and let the chips fall where they are."

He said he'll also reach out to Mr. Palmer and Ms. Jenkins, asking for their support.

Ms. Jenkins said late Tuesday that she'll throw her support behind Mr. Fennoy. Asked why, she handed the phone to her campaign manager and wouldn't comment further.

Also before passing the phone to someone else, Mr. Palmer wouldn't say whether he'll throw his support behind another candidate.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

District 1 Commission Aitken Fennoy Jenkins Palmer
101 Asbury United Methodist Church, 1305 Troupe St. 183 7 9 76
102 Crawford Avenue Baptist Church, 507 Crawford Ave. 53 21 15 82
103 Dyess Park, 902 James Brown Blvd. 13 167 34 2
104 Eastview Recreation Center, 644 Aiken St. 71 268 47 10
105 Second Mount Moriah Church, 1404 Brown St. 5 50 4 1
106 Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St. 29 13 14 50
107 Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St. 336 68 16 110
108 Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3131 Walton Way 15 42 8 4
109 May Park, 708 Fourth St. 33 21 4 10
110 Peabody Apartments, 1452 Walton Way 16 15 16 10
111 Paine College Gilbert- Lambuth Chapel, 1235 Druid Park Ave. 50 14 7 29
112 St. John's Towers, 724 Greene St. 85 24 9 34
113 May Park, 708 Fourth St. 39 38 19 12
TOTALS 928 (40%) 748 (32%) 202 (9%) 430 (19%)
Comments (26) Add comment
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Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 11/04/09 - 03:00 am
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I voted for Butch and a m

I voted for Butch and a m undecided at this point but am leaning toward fennoy.. or just simply writing in a candidate. The Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance is a big issue for me.. and from the forum events I attended it seemed that Aitken was not supportive of it, whereas Fennoy appeared more open to supporting it. I also do not like Aitken's position on the TEE center... he wants to push ahead with the tainted current proposal and is absolutely against letting voters decide if any more money will be spent on this already costly project. Fennoy is against the current tainted TEE proposal. Both are machine backed candidates.. which I despise, but I think Fennoy would be a little less damaging to our pocketbook then Aitken. Billy Morris can't wait to get his hands on more of our tax money.. and Aitken would be more than happy to sign the check. No thank you.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 11/04/09 - 03:09 am
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Imagine if a white candidate

Imagine if a white candidate threw their support behind a black candidate.. maybe that would do a lot good to help mend racial division in Augusta and then maybe the black community wouldn't always thinkl theior is a white conspiracy to foil all black candidates in Augusta.. I think it is a valid question. I think if Aitken somehow did win.. it would only stoke the fires of suspicion and mistrust in the black community. If Fennoy supports many of Butch's key positions, then maybe Butch should endorse Fennoy. Aitken essentially ignored Harrisburg and didn't seem to care about the concerns of its residents.

Brad Owens
4181
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Brad Owens 11/04/09 - 04:07 am
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Congrats Matt!! Go on to win

Congrats Matt!! Go on to win this thing but PLEASE don't pass TEE without another vote on the additional funds. Emerydan, Mr Fennoy is not who we need down there. If Butch didn't get it, my second choice would have been Matt.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 11/04/09 - 04:24 am
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Brad, if a TEE revote is your

Brad, if a TEE revote is your main issue, which it seems it is, then you simply cannot support Aitken. I was at the forums and on multiple occassions Aitken said he was absolutely against allowing the voters to decide if more money should be spent on TEE and he is on record of wanting to push ahead with the current proposal by The Marriot. Most of the key ppl on Aitken's campaign were also big proponents of TEE. Now if he has had a change of heart and will support a revote, then I could possibly support him. Also as mush as you despise the DDA and want to see it disbanded, Aitken was their handpicked candidate.. he will support their agenda. I don't like Fennoy either... but atleast on a couple of the big issues he seems to be right. Fennoy also seems more supportive of the Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance, whereas Aitken was dismissive of the idea. Again, if you attended the various forums, you would have known this... I know you are out of the country and can not attend and not everything makes the news. I am no fan of Fennoy..and will probably sit out the run=off. I imagine many other Palmer suppoerters will also sit this one out.

Lumbarsupport
0
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Lumbarsupport 11/04/09 - 05:10 am
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Mr. Aitken = Mr. Obama. When

Mr. Aitken = Mr. Obama. When he wins, will we all get an Aitken phone? Good luck with your demise Augusta, keep up the good work. Your political situation continues to keep Columbia county property values secure.

Brad Owens
4181
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Brad Owens 11/04/09 - 05:23 am
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0
Yeah, but Fennoy is a bit of

Yeah, but Fennoy is a bit of a militant isn't he? I mean shouldn't we put the entire community first? I am sure that the TEE will be done but it is not reason enough to punish the entire community with gridlock. I look at the stalemate as a block to progress for the entire community. If I had a choice between Fennoy and Aitken, I would HAVE to choose....BUTCH!!! Just kidding, I would vote for Matt hands down. The overall progress of the community should be put before the TEE (although I see TEE and a HUGE mistake with long term damage) issue.

thewiz0oz
9
Points
thewiz0oz 11/04/09 - 07:08 am
0
0
Fennoy has already said he

Fennoy has already said he wants to keep the black-white gridlock going -- he is a racist like Betty Beard because he makes decisions primarily based on race than any other issue -- as for the TEE Center -- those who fight it have a lot of company with folks from Charleston, Savannah, Columbus, Chittagong, Macon, Greenville and other regional communities -- they don't want the dollars coming to Augusta either -- for those of you with your head in the sand be ready to pay higher taxes if we don't get the income from tourism and conventions/meetings -- I for one don't want my property taxes to go up to cover our deficit -- I want visitors to Augusta to cover our shortfall

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 11/04/09 - 07:34 am
0
0
Rewrite the Charter...elect a

Rewrite the Charter...elect a Mayor with a backbone and Watch Augusta GROW! As it is now it's the SOS just a different day.

to tell the truth1
123
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to tell the truth1 11/04/09 - 07:40 am
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0
bettyboop, you got that

bettyboop, you got that right.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 11/04/09 - 09:13 am
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Palmer didn't do too bad.

Palmer didn't do too bad. Half what the frontrunner got. Hopefully he will continue to be an outspoken critic against corruption and collusion on the commission. I was kinda joking in the last post.. but I really do think I'll write him in during the run-off.

itscapt
14
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itscapt 11/04/09 - 09:14 am
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At least Fennoy will not have

At least Fennoy will not have to prove his incompetence. He has already done that on the Colliseum Authority.

john
934
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john 11/04/09 - 09:23 am
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0
emerydan, what if a black

emerydan, what if a black candidate threw their support behind a white candidate instead of throwing their phone to their campaign manager? why is it always the whites job to placate the blacks? why cant we come togeter instead of one side caving? Oh wait, Helen did that and was pretty much excommunicated from the black community.

ispy4u
0
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ispy4u 11/04/09 - 09:36 am
0
0
John, S.O.S., a different

John, S.O.S., a different day.

Brad Owens
4181
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Brad Owens 11/04/09 - 09:36 am
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itscapt, That was pretty

itscapt, That was pretty funny and sadly very true.

thewiz0oz
9
Points
thewiz0oz 11/04/09 - 09:59 am
0
0
If a white wins district 1

If a white wins district 1 the blacks will go running to the Justice Department like they did on the 1988 vote that gave us a good consolidation -- the Justice Department threw out our vote then -- they might do it again -- racism is alive and well in Washington, DC & in Augusta, GA

ispy4u
0
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ispy4u 11/04/09 - 10:03 am
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Wiz, what an idiot. But then

Wiz, what an idiot. But then again, Whites like you have been running to every one and their Mothers since Nov 4th, trying to prove that the President is not a citizen, a Muslim and the second coming of the Anti Christ.

john
934
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john 11/04/09 - 10:48 am
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agreed ispy, on your reply to

agreed ispy, on your reply to me.

coco rubio
4
Points
coco rubio 11/04/09 - 10:49 am
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0
what's interesting and what

what's interesting and what nobody had mentioned yet is that only 2,000 people voted......

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 11/04/09 - 11:13 am
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0
Yes, the apathy in Augusta

Yes, the apathy in Augusta seems to be growing coco. I'm very saddened to see it. I'm glad I don't have to vote in District 1, but I would never vote for Fennoy after what I saw in that interview on TV. What he said was racist and prejudiced. Why would he think 5 blacks will always vote the same way, or 5 whites either? Why does he think the only people that should be represented are black or white? Augusta is more diverse than that. It shouldn't be based on color AT ALL. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that we should make decisions based on the content of persons' character, not the color of their skin. When the people behind Fennoy cheered that statement, I realized they just don't get it. My default choice would have to be Aitken. I'm just plain sick and tired of the racism in Augusta. Fennoy made it clear that his decisions will be based on race and his supporters cheered that statement. That's all I would need to know not to vote for him.

faithson
5102
Points
faithson 11/04/09 - 11:34 am
0
0
Fennoy is a Charles Walker

Fennoy is a Charles Walker (10 year jail sentence for fraud) protege... He learned his politics from one of the best and most corrupt politicians to ever grace the halls of our state capitol. Many of us in the business community 'KNOW' just how corrupt Charlie was from our dealings with him. Now please tell me all you Palmer advocates how you can just blow off this election because your man Butch lost.. Butch could ferment much good will with the commission on his neighborhood agenda if he would go ahead and throw his support behind Matt and get out and campain for him.. One good thing about the campain was that no mud got thrown so between Matt and Butch some common ground can be found.. Come on you passonate 'sic em Butch' voters, lets get on board with Matt and at least have a commission that has a chance of getting the people's business done, all the people...

jack
10
Points
jack 11/04/09 - 12:00 pm
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Anyone sitting in public

Anyone sitting in public office such as Fennoy has been certainly should not be elected to another public office such as the Augusta commission. You have enough ignorant clowns on there now.

jojo55
0
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jojo55 11/04/09 - 12:38 pm
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0
Well. My greatest fears came

Well. My greatest fears came true from this election. We have no one to vote for that will truly represent all the people. Fennoy is only for the blacks in Augusta and Aitken is for his wealthy friends in Augusta that will guide his decision making in the commission.
What did we do to deserve this, you didn't get out and vote, that's what.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 11/04/09 - 12:58 pm
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0
My next vote will be with my

My next vote will be with my feet... to North Augusta!

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 11/04/09 - 01:00 pm
0
0
Both these guys represent the

Both these guys represent the same-ole- same-ole in Augusta.. Like Omnom said.. best to just write in a protest vote. The real problem in Augusta is not racism, but apathy.

Brad Owens
4181
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Brad Owens 11/04/09 - 03:01 pm
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0
Guys, if you supported Butch

Guys, if you supported Butch you should move to the next 'change agent' in the race. That can only be Matt. I have lost two political races in my life and they hurt bad when you lose, but don't focus your anger on the ones who got it, focus on what you were trying to accomplish for the county. No one can look at Matt and Bill and say Matt is the worse of the two choices. Matt (and the TEE) is not worse than gridlock. I would rather have the TEE than a race policy based candidate.

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 11/04/09 - 10:44 pm
0
0
Love the picture of Butch

Love the picture of Butch with the bottle of rum in front of him and three shot glasses. There is wine and beer too. I'm sure he had a hangover this morning.

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