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2010 census findings to affect voting districts

Areas of Richmond County could lose representation

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The 2010 census showed Richmond County's population barely changed in 10 years, but that doesn't mean its voting districts will stay the same.

Places that lagged behind the state's 18.3 percent growth rate -- Richmond County grew only 0.4 percent -- also fell behind in the population needed for a state Senate or House seat. That means areas, including Richmond County's urban center, could lose some representation.

"Those places that have not grown as fast will have to add geographic area to their districts," said state Rep. Roger Lane, the chairman of the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment committee, which will oversee redrawing of districts in Georgia.

Augusta's urban voting districts in particular have lost population, and expanding them into outlying suburbs could affect their racial makeup.

Census figures show Georgia's population was 9,687,653 in 2010. That means a state Senate district should now contain, on average, about 173,000 people and a House district about 54,000.

Richmond County's voting districts are all below those averages. In the urban core, three House districts, 119, 121 and 122, and Senate District 22 lagged by as much as 14 percent to 25 percent. Those House districts are on Augusta's north and east sides and are represented by Barbara Sims, Wayne Howard and Earnest Smith. The Senate district, covering the urban part of the county, is represented by Hardie Davis.

The General Assembly will meet in a special session this summer to approve new voting districts, Lane said. Before that, public hearings will be held on proposed redistricting.

The goal for redistricting, starting out, is to have each district contain about the same population, Lane said. Population can vary as much as 5 percent if there's a justifiable reason.

However, legislators must avoid losing a black voting district when they redraw lines, to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, Lane said. That can be difficult in Georgia's majority-black inner cities, where population has declined and where surrounding suburbs are white.

"If you go outside the city now and grab a section of the suburbs, you're not necessarily going to grab a minority population," Lane said.

In the suburbs of Columbia County, House districts have 13 percent and 19 percent more population than an average seat should have. Demographically they are white, by three to one. By contrast, four out of five of Richmond County's House districts are majority black.

Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, said redistricting could try to follow any black population that's moved into the suburbs.

"If the population simply isn't there, you can't create people, though," he said.

Theoretically, three black districts could be consolidated into two black districts or a majority-black district could become a majority-white district, Bullock said, but he's never seen that happen in Georgia.

By the numbers

RICHMOND COUNTY

SENATE DISTRICT/REP.POPULATIONChange*WhitesBlacks
22/Hardie Davis138,542-19.92%31.92%62.86%
23/Jesse Stone153,242-11.42%53.10%41.90%
HOUSE DISTRICT/REP.POPULATIONChangeWhitesBlacks
119/Barbara Sims46,117-14.31%69.28%22.71%
120/Quincy Murphy49,471-8.08%29.89%63.58%
121/Wayne Howard39,901-25.86%28.98%67.05%
122/Earnest Smith45,723-15.04%38.43%56.22%
123/Gloria Frazier49,250-8.49%42.21%51.68%

COLUMBIA COUNTY

SENATE DISTRICT/REP.POPULATIONChangeWhitesBlacks
24/Bill Jackson182,3345.40%71.48%21.50%
HOUSE DISTRICT/REP.POPULATIONChangeWhitesBlacks
117/Lee Anderson64,22419.33%72.73%20.35%
118/Ben Harbin60,82413.01%78.29%12.64%

* Population change from 2000-10

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

2010 numbers

Georgia pop. 9,687,653

Senate seats 56

Avg. Senate

district population 172,994

House seats 180

Avg. House

district population 53,820

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

MORE ON THE CENSUS

House, Senate district populations, with racial breakdowns, for Richmond, Columbia counties/10A

SC Census data

Local-level census data for South Carolina will be released next week, among the last batch before the April 1 deadline set by law.

The Census Bureau must furnish the data by April 1 of the year following the census to allow for redistricting, the 10-year redrawing of political districts from which state and federal lawmakers are elected. With this last release of redistricting data, the Census Bureau will fulfill its statutory obligation, according to information from the bureau.

Next week's anticipated load will include summaries of population totals, data on race, Hispanic origin and voting age for census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts.

South Carolina is not alone in approaching the deadline.

Other states and territories that will also be released next week include: Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

-- Sarita Chourey, Morris News Service

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Brad Owens
4294
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Brad Owens 03/19/11 - 04:28 am
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Looks like Richmond County

Looks like Richmond County will have less reps under the Gold Dome.

That is good for someone, but not RC. I hope the Mayor now sees that this is a really bad thing.

Voting Rights Act of 1965 huh?

So let me get this right. If a district is majority black, or has black reps, when we redistrict the majority black status cannot be changed, even IF the local population doesn't or no longer supports majority black districts?

I guees we could just change the way elections are run, and if you are black you can will with less than 50% plus one vote. I guess we could make it where if you are black you just win no matter what number of votes are were cast.

Well, Sims' seat will move west into CC, but where will the others go? I guess they should just do what they have done everywhere else, make super duper black innnercity districts surrounded by superduper white suburbs.

Countryman will say this is a good thing.."Places that lagged behind the state's 18.3 percent growth rate -- Richmond County grew only 0.4 percent -- also fell behind in the population needed for a state Senate or House seat.."

Bad and sad news,

Brad

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 07:04 am
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I hope that District 22 and

I hope that District 22 and District 120 will get a shake up. No race should have dominance over a District (just because). I think Augusta would do better to even up the odds for and actually have Republicans and Democrats in elections instead of Democrats controling the districts and running unopposed. The democrats have failed our city at the state level and we need to change that. I dont think that rural areas should just be represented by republicans in our area. If we had more republicans representing Augusta/Richmond County in Atlanta we would be better off. It will take a miracle but Augusta needs one and very very badly and now could not be too soon.

Riverman1
82451
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Riverman1 03/19/11 - 07:16 am
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It appears we have a major

It appears we have a major dilemma on our hands. There are not enough blacks to justify the "black" districts, but the feds don't want to lose them. Something has to give. The problem could end up in the courts where we could see the demise of the Voting Rights Act.

Frankly, there is no other solution than eliminating "black" districts one way or another if we are to keep the voting power of individuals equal. The alternative is to have two governments. One for them and one for us.

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 08:00 am
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Riverman1: Great Post! Some

Riverman1: Great Post! Some will not like that you tell it like it is. For those that dont. like the folks who believe growth in ARC is doing ok I say this to them. Quit drinking the Democrat Kool-Aid! It is killing your brain cells. Face it ARC is fixing to be in a sure enough crisis. ARC citizens elections have consequences and ARC is just starting to pay for electing a liberal backwards base to Atlanta like it has for years. It is time for things here in ARC to change before it is too late. I hope redistricting comes thru ARC like a chainsaw and I hope we can get some new Districts for the House and Senate to make elections fair between Republicans and democrats if that happens more republicans could get elected and that would be a huge help for ARC and a big improvement for ARC overall.

Again Riverman1 great post!

Riverman1
82451
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Riverman1 03/19/11 - 08:04 am
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Irishfarmer, you are exactly

Irishfarmer, you are exactly right. Republicans gaining a measure of power in Richmond Cty with help from the outlying areas would help tremendously. It may break the lock the Democrats have on the legislative delegation if nothing else.

seenitB4
85836
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seenitB4 03/19/11 - 08:15 am
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This is a strange cup of tea

This is a strange cup of tea we have brewed....dark tea/light tea....what goes around-comes around........humans will always flock to groups with the same social/wealth patterns......this will happen & can't be controlled by the Fed. government----I don't think humans can control it either....even with all their good intentions....
Kinda reminds me of trying tochange my left-handed baby.....I tried every trick I could think of ..haha...didn't work.....even at 6months-12months her mind & body said NO-NO-NO...she now is a beautiful lefty...there are some things in life that are different & we will just have to accept it!!

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 08:18 am
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Riverman1: I know right now

Riverman1: I know right now that at least two members of the delegation are very vulnerable to having a republican challenger in 2012 for their seat that they think they have locked down. Especially if things do not improove in our area. I am not going to tell who the two are on here. For those who wonder why one reason is because I dont have to and the second is because I think suprises are a good thing. especially in elections or during election season for those who have been elected and failed those they have been elected by.

Riverman1
82451
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Riverman1 03/19/11 - 10:06 am
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Irishfarmer, you know how the

Irishfarmer, you know how the city of Atlanta is comprised of more than one county? If you want to see an emotional debate, bring up the idea of Augusta merging with Columbia County. I know it seems farfetched, but consider the actual consequences. The political landscape would change dramatically with Republicans dominating the new city. Police officers could serve tours of duty in Richmond Cty and be assigned to Columbia Cty for awhile to recuperate.

Austin Rhodes
2855
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Austin Rhodes 03/19/11 - 10:28 am
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The Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is and always has been UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

By the way, it matters not what the humans sitting on the High Court say on the issue, the VR Act was a permanent, systemic, bigoted set of solutions for temporary, isolated problems.

Until that hideously outdated piece of trash is thrown out, "one man - one vote" will remain but a myth for those of us in these parts.

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 10:30 am
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Riverman1: I have proposed

Riverman1: I have proposed the same thing you are saying in your post before. When Columbia Cty first began too boom many years ago when it was mostly rural and small. I also still say the same thing for the parts of Blythe, McBean, and Hephzibah that are in Richmond county but not in our consolidated government. I think it would be great and our elections at the state and local level for commission, state senate and state house would be far more competitive. Also it would really open up politics in Augusta and I think politically we would all benefit. Will it ever happen? Nope not a chance you still have too many people in columbia county who snub their noses at richmond county. what kills me is most of them 10 to 15 years ago lived in richmond county and they were raised in richmonsd county as well. Also I think some in richmond county like the problems we have and would not want anyone new to come and mess them up. Our Augusta/Richmond Cty. Charter is a joke and it causes more problems than it will ever solve. As for the fact that not one single district is drawn fairly. The Districts could be made more fair now as we spaeak in ARC, but no one has the guts to change them. Heaven forbid that whites have a say so anymore in augusta but more importantly conservative republicans who are not just white people by the way have a say so as well. I have said this before Augustan's wake up 90% of our problems have been caused by our leadership! It is time to make a change and a statement and it is long pass time to elect republicans to represent our area and send some democrats packing to teach them a lesson. Remember folks ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCE'S! You only have to look at Augusta to see that.

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 10:32 am
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Austin Rhodes : I agree with

Austin Rhodes : I agree with your post as well. I doubt that there is enough educated people to see and understand it though but great post.

corgimom
31535
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corgimom 03/19/11 - 11:42 am
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"Nope not a chance you still

"Nope not a chance you still have too many people in columbia county who snub their noses at richmond county. what kills me is most of them 10 to 15 years ago lived in richmond county and they were raised in richmonsd county as well. "

It's not about snubbing, it's about refusal to take on a dying, decaying, going-broke city-county. What would CC gain from that? Who in their right mind would agree to that?

People left A-RC for specific reasons, they sure don't want those problems back.

corgimom
31535
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corgimom 03/19/11 - 11:45 am
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"Austin Rhodes : I agree with

"Austin Rhodes : I agree with your post as well. I doubt that there is enough educated people to see and understand it though but great post."

Yeah, us poor dumb ones are just sitting here clueless. His post wasn't exactly quantum physics, you know.

*snort*

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/19/11 - 12:03 pm
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Irish.. I'm not sure I

Irish.. I'm not sure I understand your statement that whites don't have any say so anymore in Augusta politics (on the state legislative level.. ok you may have a point), but look according to the census Richmond County is now slightly over 60% black.. YET there is a white mayor, a white Sheriff, and 6 of 10 commissioners are white.. so it seems to me that whites have done a pretty good job at maintaining their power in Richmond County (and in the last cpl of years have actually increased it) during a time when the white population has been shrinking in ARC to just under 40%.. How does that happen? I do believe though after redisctricting at the local level, this will change and you will see a flip in the racial make-up of the commission..

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 12:03 pm
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corgimom: I have a question

corgimom: I have a question for you. Will you move to Mcduffie, Warren, or Lincoln County next, when Columbia County falls just like ARC has in the next 20 years. People running from county to county is not the answer. Making a stand and your voice being the ballot box is what will work and improove things. That would take backbone, and rolling up one's sleeves and putting in some work and too few people today want to do just that. Snort all you like the truth hurts and a bit dog always yelps first.

irishfarmer
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 12:10 pm
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Emerydan: What you say is

Emerydan: What you say is true and I agree. Here is my point. District 1 commission seat was the upset of all time in ARC. Our mayor ran against weak and multiple candidates when the next election comes it will probably only have two people in it and one will be black and the other white. As for the local level it will go back to 5 to 5 on the commisssion very soon and our city will be locked in a stail mate again with nothing improoving at all and just getting worse. We will never have a fair chance at having the same split in our delegation because the districts are drawn to appease a certain race and take the power from another and not even make the numbers fair. Our state level districts could easily be drawn to allow for a split which would send either 4 republicans to atlanta and 3 democrats or either 3republicans and 4 democrats.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/19/11 - 12:17 pm
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5-5? No, think more like

5-5?
No, think more like 6-5... as soon as the local commission districts are redrawn, you are going to see a flip

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 12:19 pm
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emerydan: How? there are only

emerydan: How? there are only 10 commission districts in ARC. Unless you are adding the mayor if so then yes I agree.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/19/11 - 12:51 pm
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well actually that was a

well actually that was a typo.. but yes, I think after Deke's term expires (he cannot run again), I believe you will see a black mayor.. likely by that time the black population will be even greater.. It's already at 60% now. So yes the mayor is one position that I see flipping. But, as far as the commission.. once you see redristicting, I think you will see Dist one become even more black.. and I do believe that dist will go back to being represented by a black commissioner. ( Aitken may not even run again.. I've been hearing talk about that... but regardless it is going to be even harder for a white candidate to win it next time).. I also think Dist 6 will be redrawn so that it could very easily elect a black commissioner in that seat. That would tip the balance. I think you are going to see some very different looking districts with these new numbers. You have over 8,000 new black residents in RC and over 12,000 whites left.. so I think that creates another majority black district right there. It may take 2 elections to happen, but it will happen.

dani
12
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dani 03/19/11 - 01:15 pm
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Emery, that is taking for

Emery, that is taking for granted that blacks will vote for the black candidate but more and more blacks are realizing that doing the same old thing over and over again is not working. Some will put color aside and vote for what is best for their community.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/19/11 - 01:44 pm
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dani.. that may be true, so

dani.. that may be true, so do you think we may see the possibilty of a non-white candidate elected to Dist 10 or Guilfoyle's dist in South Richmond? What we have now are commission dists drawn based on the 2000 census, which at that time had the county fairly evenly split.. and for the most part that has been reflected in the make-up of the commission. But over the last 10 years things have changed.. the black population has increased by over 8,000 and the white population has decreased by over 12,000. Blacks now comprise over 60% of the total population of RC. We would all like to think that race is not a factor in politics, but we know it is. And that goes both ways.. How many majority white comm districts have elected a non-white candidate? None that I can think of. The fact is, the commission districts will change to refelct this shift in demographics..(yes some will put color aside and simply vote for the best candidate), but still in Richmond County Blacks overwhelming vote for the black candidate and the whites overwhelmingly vote for the white candidate. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

corgimom
31535
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corgimom 03/19/11 - 01:55 pm
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"corgimom: I have a question

"corgimom: I have a question for you. Will you move to Mcduffie, Warren, or Lincoln County next, when Columbia County falls just like ARC has in the next 20 years. "

Nope, it'll be Aiken County or Edgefield County. You could not pay me to move back to RC.

I thank God that I got out in 1988.

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 03/19/11 - 02:08 pm
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corgimom: We are glad you got

corgimom: We are glad you got out as well. Best of luck and wishes to you in the future.

iLove
626
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iLove 03/19/11 - 07:19 pm
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The racial demographics of a
Unpublished

The racial demographics of a district. . . does that matter?

corgimom
31535
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corgimom 03/19/11 - 09:02 pm
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Yeah, irishfarmer, when a kid

Yeah, irishfarmer, when a kid from Apple Valley attacked my then-6 year old son on the playground, because he wanted my son's colored pencils and my son didn't surrender them, and my son's finger was broken- and the principal said "there was nothing he could do" and that I couldn't talk to the boy's parents, and that it was "just one of those things"- that's when I started making plans to move.

When I pointed out to the prinicipal that I had sent my son to school that day with all of his bones intact, and that there obviously serious problems in the school, that injuries like this were happening, he just shrugged.

And my story is not unusual. In fact, it is the norm in RC schools.

That's what drove me out, and that's what drove thousands of other people out- the RC schools.

corgimom
31535
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corgimom 03/19/11 - 09:04 pm
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iLove, do the racial

iLove, do the racial demographics matter? Are you really serious?

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 03/20/11 - 09:07 am
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corgimom: Instead of leaving

corgimom: Instead of leaving RC you should have gotten others together and replaced members of the school board back then by voting against them. Instead you took the easy way out and that is why we are in the poor shape we are in now. No one wants to work or fight for one darn thing anymore. Just complain even when they do not live in that city or county anymore. It is like most people are spoiled and just espect things to go their way. This problem has had its seed for a long time here in ARC and now it is fullgrown. What happened to your child was wrong and that principal should have been fired and or demoted. Again the quickest way to change things is to replace the officials that are elected. It is the only way to control leaders instead of being controlled by them. I do agree with you on one more thing corgimom. iLove in ARC racial demographics mean everything that, is sad to say but it is true.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 03/20/11 - 12:55 pm
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Thanks goodness I live where

Thanks goodness I live where I live and don't have to worry about boom, boom boom music, gunshots and people walking the streets at all hours of the day and night. Lots of traffic though since it is a major street.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 03/20/11 - 02:07 pm
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Never fails how people get on

Never fails how people get on here and write this nonsense regarding Richmond County. My family and I have lived in SRC for 25 years and would not even consider leaving for Columbia County. All of all daughters graduated from Davidson Find Arts, which is one of the best school in Georgia, and the nation. We were able to get more house for the money, and we live in a good neighborhood. You folks in Columbia County just keep thinking all is well, but those of us who know better are aware of the crime that goes on there, and the people living well above there means to live a so call privilege life style.

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 03/20/11 - 02:35 pm
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RunningMan: 1st of all Great

RunningMan: 1st of all Great Post! 2nd of all it is refreshing to finally have someone agree that richmond county and south augusta is not the place others want to paint it out to be in a horrible picture. Sure things are bad but not at the point that we should throw in the towel and give up. We in ARC and in South Augusta need to wise up. It is time to give our democratic leaders the boot and show them the door to being un-elected. It is now the time too give Republicans the chance to lead for us our charge in Atlanta.

I say this with all of my heart. I know of one or two republican candidates that plan to run in 2012 but this is not enough it is time for republicans to fight and run for these tough districts. Sure we may not win them all and might only win one but it is your time republicans of Augusta/Richmond County to stand up and fight for the people. As for the fence sitters and so called conservative democrats it is time too wake up. I dont think the liberals in ARC will change but you need too it is time to quit being fooled by a party and it is time to do what is right. Our city no longer needs to have its valuable seats in the legislature controlled by pretty much one single party. 2012 will be the year to send the message loud and clear. Democrats have failed us and now voters of Augusta/Richmond County should fail them.

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