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Ga. Senate passes map adding GOP district to Richmond County

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 1:11 PM
Last updated 10:44 PM
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ATLANTA — Richmond County is on its way to adding a Republican member to its legislative delegation after the Senate voted largely on party lines Tuesday to pass revisions to the legislative maps designed last year.

Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, spoke in opposition and persuaded most of his fellow Democrats to join him, but he didn’t prevail in the 33-18 vote.

The change moves the district of Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, to include a tiny portion of Richmond County, while maintaining a presence in Richmond County for Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro. That means the two Republicans would outnumber Davis, 2-1, whereas currently Stone and Davis can block each other on local legislation and therefore have to work together.

“This is nothing more than a power grab and an attempt to dictate the affairs of Augusta from Columbia County,” Davis said.

He noted that last year’s map had already put most of Rep. Barbara Sims’ district in Columbia County and predicted that the Augusta Republican would be unseated by a Columbia County candidate, tilting more power.

He also said business executives behind the plan were seeking to marginalize black voters.

After the vote, Stone said he thought the business leaders who asked him to include Jackson’s district in the county were concerned about broader issues.

“I can’t read their minds, but I think the business leaders he was referring to probably want to see a move toward greater regional integration because the future of Columbia County and Richmond County really are interwoven,” Stone said. “One way to look at it is Columbia County has two senators; Richmond County has three. That can’t help but increase the strength of the Richmond County delegation.”

The Senate vote was pretty much what Davis expected, and he predicted the House would be the same. His best opportunity for stopping it, he said, is when the U.S. Department of Justice reviews it to see if it weakens minority voting strength. Those reviews generally only consider the impact on voters within individual districts rather than the impact on a county legislative delegation.

The map of the local school board and county commission districts is the subject of negotiation between Davis and Stone, who said he had also conferred with local officials. The map has been held in a Senate committee since the House passed it.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/28/12 - 02:48 pm
It is sad and a shame to see

It is sad and a shame to see Sen. Hardie Davis playing the whining victim. I thought he had much potential when he was campaigning. I'm absolutely disappointed in him.

CoastalDawg 02/28/12 - 02:51 pm
The Democrats did EXACTLY the

The Democrats did EXACTLY the same thing for their party when they were in power so all their ranting and screaming needs to fall on deaf ears. During the Democrats' reign, Chatham County was split into two districts - ONE county, two separate representatives. John Barrow had to move from Athens to Savannah to compete but he did so and won twice; to his credit he did not always blindly follow the Democratic trail to where our country is now, almost bankrupt and in trillions of dollars to the deficit. Now he has to move AGAIN because that county is back into one district as counties SHOULD be in my opinion. The redrawing of districts has been done forever and whatever party is in power does its best to maintain control; as you probably know, some states, unfairly in my opinion, must submit their plans to the federal department of justice for "approval" because of history way in the past. It is time for that to cease or require ALL states to do the same.

irishfarmer 02/28/12 - 03:42 pm
Wow cant tell the truth on

Wow cant tell the truth on here when you post Sen Davis will get his folks at the AC to delete it. Like they did one of my earlier post. Littl Lamb to let you know yes i was telling it lik it is and like i feel as well. Doubt anyone will read this post though. Sen. Davis friends at the AC will have it removed. Augusta Chronicle cant stand the truth i see that now so much for free speech. Thats only when you speak high of there paid for democrat. Anyway again Sen. Davis is a failed leader and needs to be replaced ASAP. Little Lamb hope all is well! Doubt you will get to read this since the good ol boys will probably remove it like they did my post from yesterday.

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