John Stone, the only announced Republican candidate, acknowledged that Carlton told him he wanted to avoid a fierce primary like last year’s, during which Republicans depleted energy and bank accounts fighting each other.
Stone, a former spokesman for Norwood, said he told Carlton, “That’s very good. But I’ve been running since February.”
Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young, who considered running for the seat if incumbent Democrat John Barrow had decided to run for the Senate, said he was invited to meet with the Norwoods about selecting a candidate, but declined.
“I wasn’t going to be involved in selecting a candidate,” he said. “I thought the purpose of the primary is to select the candidate. I think the people should select the candidate.”
Republican Rick Allen, who is expected to announce this week that he’ll try for the seat again next year, said that he, too, had spoken to the Norwoods and that they were very pleased with his decision (to run).
Augusta lawyer Wright McLeod, who came in third in last year’s Republican primary, has decided not to run next year.
GEARING UP: Friday was Stone’s last day as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and he’ll be moving to Augusta in mid-June.
“I will start Monday putting in more time in the campaign,” he said. “I’ve been contacting people from the 2008 campaign. I’m trying to build a sense of unity in the primary, so we don’t tear each other to pieces.
“My campaign is not against other people but against Barrow – not that I’m against him personally. Everybody is in agreement not to fight among ourselves. I started my campaign with that idea in February.”
TALES FROM INSIDE THE BELTWAY: Stone says one of the stories coming out of Texas since the IRS scandal broke concerns Carter.
Before Carter was to speak to the Cedar Park Texas Tea Party, the IRS asked the group to record his comments and send it the recording.
‘That’s a little frightening,” Stone said. “And you couple that with the Justice Department wiretaps of The Associated Press phones in Washington, and a little known but more frightening aspect was that in order to tap the AP phone lines, they tapped the House of Representatives press lines. They went into the House press gallery switchboard in order to make those taps, and that is not only a violation of the House of Representatives but of the entire press corps.”
Stone said the media’s relationship with the Obama administration reminds him of the poem about a woman riding a crocodile across a river, so I looked up the poem and copied it for you:
The Lady and the Crocodile
She sailed away
On a sunny summer day,
On the back of a crocodile.
“You see,” said she,
“He’s as tame as tame can be,
I’ll ride him down the Nile.”
The croc winked his eye
As she bade them all goodbye,
Wearing a happy smile.
At the end of the ride,
The lady was inside,
And the smile
Was on the crocodile!
WHEW! Whoever wins the Republican primary will have to run fast to catch Barrow, because he’s got a head start.
On Monday, he spoke at Memorial Day events in Augusta and in Dublin and attended two town hall meetings. One was at American Legion Post 205 on Highland Avenue in Augusta, and the other at a post in Statesboro.
On Tuesday, he went on farm tours in Appling and Jeff Davis counties.
On Wednesday, he visited with Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross and Administrator Scott Johnson. Then he met with Tammy Shepherd, the president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.
Shepherd said she had written a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation about a possible loss of the nonstop flight from Augusta Regional Airport to Washington because of U.S. Airways’ merger with American Airlines.
Barrow said he was happy to tell Shepherd that he’d already sent a letter to the department “to the very same effect.”
“It’s a threat to our nonstop flight to Reagan Airport in Washington,” Barrow said. “It’s important to the people at Fort Gordon, SRS and folks overseeing construction work at Fort Gordon. I know how important it is to everybody else in the region. That’s why I’m working to hold on to it.”
On Thursday, Barrow had another day of visits and meetings in the Augusta area and lunch at the Pinnacle Club to hear Young speak about his book, The Treasure Train. As it turned out, he and Gloria Norwood were at the same table.
After the Pinnacle Club, Barrow visited Jim Steed’s farm and dairy in Grovetown, toured the Cintas facility in Augusta and attended the Smallcakes Cupcakes ribbon-cutting in Columbia County.
Asked whether he didn’t get tired going to so many events, Barrow responded, “I don’t recommend this job to people who get tired.”
On Friday, Barrow attended Coffee County Day, took two farm tours and had lunch at the Farm Bureau.
On Saturday, before the day was half-done, he had been to the Augusta Market, the Salvation Army Auto Auction and an antique-car show at Krispy Kreme on Washington Road.
AT LEAST WE’RE ON THE MAP: To all the Republicans in Augusta who keep bragging about how important the city is to Gov. Nathan Deal and how Augusta has his ear, answer this: Why did Deal make 30 board appointments last month, and not one of them was from Augusta? They weren’t even close to Augusta.
Oh yes, I forgot, he gave us all those millions for Georgia Regents University.
RAIN TAX, RAIN TAX, GO AWAY! Folks complaining that the city is cutting garbage service in half to one day a week but charging them the same as before are really going to be mad a year from now when the billing for the rain tax starts.
But by then, they might be so assuaged by the public relations consultant, the public involvement strategy, media campaigns, newsletters, fact sheets, brochures and other PR coming their way, they won’t let out a peep.
IT IS HARD FOR THEE TO KICK AGAINST THE PRICKS (THAT’S FROM THE BIBLE.): The Augusta Commission’s Ethics Reform Study Subcommittee is supposed to meet a second time this week to work on a new policy.
At the previous meeting, they agreed that commissioners can’t do business of any kind with the city.
That seems to be about all they need to say, if you ask me. But they think they have to decide how to punish violators. And some want to drag the process
out as long as possible to keep it in the public eye to embarrass the most recent violators as much as possible.
Commissioner Grady Smith, whose company did subcontract work on a city project at Fort Gordon, should just quit making the case for such endeavors. He’s not getting anywhere with it. And I don’t think any of his colleagues will take his challenge to put their records of honesty and integrity up against his.