District 1 race's bottom two endorse former rivals

Both candidates knocked out of the running in the District 1 commission race Tuesday have made their endorsements, and they fall along racial lines.

Butch Palmer, who came in third with nearly 19 percent of the vote, threw his support behind Matt Aitken on Thursday. As for negative comments he made about Mr. Aitken after the ballots were counted, Mr. Palmer conceded that was "sour grapes."

Fourth-place finisher JoRae Jenkins said Tuesday night that she would support Bill Fennoy, and she reiterated that endorsement Thursday on The Helen Blocker-Adams Show , a radio program airing on WKZK-FM (103.7) and WKZK-AM (1600).

"He's the man for the job," she said. "Teamwork leads to dream work, and that's what we need in Augusta. With everything that's going on and so many racial divides ... we need to stand together and have good teamwork."

Mr. Aitken and Mr. Fennoy face off Dec. 1 in the race to fill Betty Beard's seat on the Augusta Commission. On Tuesday, Mr. Aitken received 40.19 percent of the vote, Mr. Fennoy received 32.39 percent, Mr. Palmer received 18.62 percent and Ms. Jenkins received 8.75 percent.

In a news conference at attorney Joe Neal's office on Telfair Street, Mr. Palmer said he'll be hitting the pavement campaigning during the next month. He says he's asking the 430 people who voted for him Tuesday, and then some, to return to the polls for Mr. Aitken.

"I can get them back to the polls, and I believe I can get more," he said.

Mr. Aitken said he didn't ask for Mr. Palmer's endorsement, but he'll accept his help. "He's part of District 1, and we're certainly not going to shun anyone," he said. "We want everybody to be a part, and I think that's what we've been missing as a city."

Ms. Jenkins said she will knock on doors for Mr. Fennoy.

Mr. Fennoy said Mr. Palmer's endorsement of Mr. Aitken surprised him, based on Mr. Palmer's comments Tuesday.

Staff Writer Jonathan Overstreet contributed to this article.

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

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