Lori Davis, Harrisburg activist, announces run for Augusta Commission's District 1 seat

Davis

Lori Davis, the outspoken Harrisburg activist who ran for mayor in 2010, is seeking the District 1 Augusta Commission post currently held by Matt Aitken.

Davis joins former Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association President Stanley Hawes in seeking the post, which comes open this year.

Aitken has said he hasn’t decided whether to seek another term because of what he calls relentless criticism in the media, including on the anonymously owned Web site where Davis is a regular poster, citystink.net.

Davis and former District 1 commission candidate Butch Palmer first made names for themselves in 2008 fighting slum landlords in Harrisburg. When Palmer lost a three-way race for commissioner that year, Davis at one point campaigned for Aitken in the runoff between Aitken and Fennoy.

Since then, Davis, a former educator who now operates two Walton Way businesses, said she’s lost faith in Aitken and several other Augusta commissioners.

“They’re not thinking with their own brains,” she said. “Matt has voted on the big issue of moving the city forward, in ways it does not need to go.”

The Web site’s various posters, including Davis, have harshly criticized Aitken’s and other commissioners’ support for the downtown Trade, Exhibit and Event Center, which is under construction.

“We’re proving that there’s money in this city, and it’s being taken by entities to pad their wealth,” she said.

Aitken’s win as a white candidate running in a majority black district surprised many in 2009. The 2010 census showed District 1 at nearly 65 percent black, and the districts redrawn by a local redistricting committee left the district with the same percentage of black residents.

Despite the percentages and having a black opponent in Hawes, Davis doesn’t think she’ll have much trouble winning the black vote.

“I think the voting black community knows what I do, and they are in tune with what goes on,” she said. “The black community realizes they’re not getting what they need.”

In the 2010 three-way contest for mayor with incumbent Deke Copenhaver and William Gilyard, Davis received just 17.8 percent of the vote to Copenhaver’s 64.3 percent. She won none of the precincts in District 1.

Augusta has five commission seats coming open this year, although the Georgia General Assembly has yet to approve the redrawn district lines or the date of the elections, which will be in July or November.

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