Government SPLOST 7 | | | Editor

Brigham wants resolution to keep commission races nonpartisan

Party affiliation could exclude candidates

  • Follow Government

After the issue resurfaced in legislation for a second consecutive year, Augusta Commission member Jerry Brigham wants a resolution in favor of keeping commission races nonpartisan.

Commission member Jerry Brigham wants local races to remain nonpartisan.  File/Staff
Commission member Jerry Brigham wants local races to remain nonpartisan.

“That was the way it was originally, and I think it’s the best thing to continue forward,” said Brigham, who has requested the resolution go before the commission at today’s meeting.

The city’s charter established Augusta’s mayor and commission races as nonpartisan, meaning candidates don’t register their party affiliation when they run for office.

Swapping to partisan races has been a favorite topic of several area Democratic legislators, however.

Last year, Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, introduced a bill to make commission races partisan. This year, he introduced a bill seeking a referendum to go before voters on the question of making the elections partisan.

Both bills have the support of the Augusta legislative delegation’s Democratic members but have little chance of passage without support of Augusta’s Republican legislators in the GOP-dominated General Assembly.

Brigham said he believes he has the six commission votes needed to get the local resolution passed, although it would not restrict the General Assembly, he said.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver is an advocate for keeping the races nonpartisan and has written an article called “Moving Beyond Partisan Politics” for the Georgia Municipal Association to cite his reasoning.

Richmond County Democratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum has advocated for partisan commission elections as a way to strengthen the party, and 10th District Republican Party Chairman Dave Barbee has said the move would likely increase voter turnout during the primaries.

Should commission races become partisan, the federal Hatch Act would preclude members of the military and federal employees such as Commissioner Alvin Mason from seeking a partisan commission seat or the mayor’s post.

Brigham’s resolution is the second-to-last item on a lengthy agenda going before the commission today. The meeting starts at 5 p.m.

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/06/12 - 04:17 pm
Okay, we learn we have a

Okay, we learn we have a lengthy agenda for Tuesday's meeting. I hope they have counted the votes before wasting time debating and discussing.

Riverman1 02/07/12 - 01:40 pm
Who needs Democrats and

Who needs Democrats and Republicans? We have blacks and whites.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Early voting in Augusta-area shows increase
Area early voting numbers are dwarfing turnout four years ago, particularly in Republican-leaning Columbia County, and forecast apossible record voting year for the Augusta area.