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Senator helped would-be replacement Garvin file before cutoff

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The only person to attempt to run for Sen. J.B. Powell's Senate seat as a Democrat acknowledged Thursday that he rode to the Capitol with Powell but insisted he made the decision to run on his own.

Leon Garvin, a former sheriff's public relations lieutenant who retired with 40-plus years on the force, said he was surfing the Web last week when he noticed that no one had qualified for Powell's seat.

"I was actually looking on Craigslist for a pontoon boat," he said. Then he clicked over to the Georgia secretary of state's Web site.

"I didn't even think about qualifying until I saw that on the computer," he said.

The secretary of state's list of potential qualifiers showed no names for Senate District 23 through the week of qualifying until Friday. That day, 15 minutes before qualifying closed, Powell surprised the Democratic Party, many in his district and his fellow legislators by signing up to run for commissioner of agriculture.

Two men attempted Friday to qualify for Powell's post: Garvin, whose address turned out to be in the 22nd District, and Waynesboro Republican Jesse Stone.

Garvin drove to Atlanta, but said he realized he didn't know how to get from the Capitol Drive Holiday Inn to the Capitol. He could see the Gold Dome but was unsure how to get there, he said.

So Garvin called Powell, "the only one down there I knew," he said. He and Powell ate breakfast together Friday morning. The senator dropped him off at his room, then picked him up again to take him to the Democratic Party office for qualifying, he said.

Garvin faxed a letter withdrawing from the primary earlier this week, he said. But it was rejected by the secretary of state's office because it was not notarized.

Garvin, who called himself a "conservative Democrat," said he wasn't sure what the dates of qualifying were, nor did he know what counties make up the 23rd, the district he tried to represent.

"No, no, no, not Washington (County)," he insisted during an interview Thursday.

The 23rd encompasses all of Washington, Burke, Screven, Jenkins, Jefferson and parts of Wilkinson, Emanuel and Richmond counties.

Garvin was the only Republican candidate in the 2000 sheriff's race that won Democratic candidate Ronnie Strength his first term.

Once Garvin's withdrawal is official, state Democrats have said they'll attempt to run Blythe attorney Chuck Pardue as a substitute candidate.

But Michael Jablonski, Georgia Democratic party general counsel, said the chance of that effort being successful is "extremely small."

Georgia election code allows a substitute if a candidate withdraws after the primary, but not before, Jablonski said.

"I'm not too optimistic, and there is an alternate way to get him on the ballot," he said.

Pardue can qualify as an independent, he said.

The party scrutinizes candidates' qualifications when they come in to qualify, Jablonski said.

But Garvin showed up with only 10 minutes to spare, five minutes after Powell qualified for the agriculture post "without telling anyone" in the party, he said.

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corgimom
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corgimom 05/07/10 - 01:35 am
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"I was actually looking on

"I was actually looking on Craigslist for a pontoon boat," he said. Then he clicked over to the Georgia secretary of state's Web site.

Whenever I go onto Craigslist looking for a pontoon boat, what immediately pops into my mind is running for the Georgia senate.

Isn't it like that for everybody?

bettyboop
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bettyboop 05/07/10 - 05:01 am
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It all sounds really

It all sounds really suspect....but then the writer of the story is also "suspect"......seems McCord likes to embellish the truth to cause some sort of sensationalism.

joebowles
104
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joebowles 05/07/10 - 07:18 am
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Betty, the entire

Betty, the entire switcgh-a-roo is what is suspect. Everyone knows that this was done intentionally. If Susan would pull the phone records from some of the Local South Augusta Mafia Officials she would see who was in contact with Garving beforehand. This was a blatant attempt to keep the seat part of the "Good Ole Boy system".

sgachief
0
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sgachief 05/07/10 - 07:31 am
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i don't think either one of

i don't think either one of them is too bright. lucky for us all they are both out!

Little Lamb
47002
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Little Lamb 05/07/10 - 08:41 am
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I join Betty in wondering why

I join Betty in wondering why our intrepid reporter Ms. McCord spent so much ink on Garvin's protestations. Of course Garvin made the final decision to run “on his own.” Who else could make it for him? The Southside Mafia was part of the equation, but they didn't tell him, “Either your signature or your brains will be on that application to run.” This last-minute shenanigan of qualifying shows neither Powell nor Garvin to be honorable men.

Little Lamb
47002
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Little Lamb 05/07/10 - 08:41 am
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That being said: I hope Ms.

That being said: I hope Ms. McCord will redeem herself by finding the election law that allows substitutions and printing the text or providing the citation in the Georgia Code (I have a very difficult time finding things in the on-line code). We have some politicos saying they will get Pardue on the primary ballot and some others saying, “I don't think so.”

joebowles
104
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joebowles 05/07/10 - 08:47 am
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There is no provision for

There is no provision for substitutions.

justus4
107
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justus4 05/07/10 - 09:50 am
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Another attempt by U know who
Unpublished

Another attempt by U know who to make this Gavin guy out to be a fool. And the Gavin guy is assisting with that effort by even attempting to explain his actions. First, he forgot who he is dealing with and must be the most unsophisticated individual this side of the Mississippi. Telling the AWM anything will be twisted into a crime especially if U are of a particular group, then to only listen to a politician, who probably wouldn't know the truth if it spoke to him, puts this guy squarely in the foolish box. And it's better this way anyway, 'cause he didn't have a clue and wouldn't have done anything to help anyone.

KingJames
10
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KingJames 05/07/10 - 10:31 am
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Garvin has already spent 40

Garvin has already spent 40 years in public service with the Sheriff's Department. He should stand on that accomplishment and not enter politics.

Little Lamb
47002
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Little Lamb 05/07/10 - 03:21 pm
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I hope Garvin stays out of

I hope Garvin stays out of politics, too, KingJames. He has already mastered the politician's art of doublespeak and denial, as evidenced by his not-to-be-believed statements in the story above.

Little Lamb
47002
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Little Lamb 05/13/10 - 08:22 am
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Michael Jablonski, Georgia

Michael Jablonski, Georgia Democratic party general counsel, said

The chance of [- substituting Chuck Pardue for Leon Garvin on the ballot as a Democrat -] being successful is "extremely small." Georgia election code allows a substitute if a candidate withdraws after the primary, but not before. "I'm not too optimistic, and there is an alternate way to get him on the ballot, i.e., Pardue can qualify as an independent.

We learned yesterday that Chuck Pardue does indeed plan a petition drive to get on the Senate ballot as an independent, even though he will use Democrat party machinery to conduct the petition drive. He needs 4,500 signatures of voters already registered in the 23rd district. He has until the end of July to get the signatures.

Little Lamb
47002
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Little Lamb 05/13/10 - 08:26 am
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.

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