Runoff to decide 2 hotly contested races

Augusta-area voters will return to the polls today to decide the Democratic nominee for Richmond County sheriff and a Republican nominee for Congress.

The hotly contested Democratic sheriff’s race, which drew an estimated 5,000 Republican crossover voters in the July 31 primary, will be decided between Scott Peebles and Richard Roundtree. The winner will face Republican nominee Freddie Sanders in November.

About 4,465 registered Richmond County voters cast early ballots last week in the runoff, only a few hundred of them in the 19-county 12th District congressional runoff between Grovetown state Rep. Lee Anderson and Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen.

All Richmond County’s polling places will be open today, as will most polling places in Columbia County, which is now mostly in the 12th District.

Voters in Columbia County will also settle the runoff between Carolyn Chase and David Dekle for the District 1 school board seat.

Peebles, a captain with the sheriff’s office, and Roundtree, a former homicide detective with the sheriff’s office and now a Richmond County schools Public Safety lieutenant, have exchanged barbs during the campaign about endorsements and previous party affiliations.

Allen and Anderson have sparred recently over mailers from Anderson’s campaign that linked Allen to Democrats, including President Obama. Anderson has declined invitations to debate details of what Allen’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, on Monday called “flat-out lies and distortions.”

WHO CAN VOTE TODAY

• Voters who chose the Democratic ballot in the July 31 primary may vote in the runoff for Richmond County sheriff.

• Voters who chose the Republican ballot in the July 31 primary may vote in the runoff for U.S. House District 12.

• Voters who selected the nonpartisan ballot in the July 31 primary may vote in either but not both runoffs.

• Registered voters who did not vote in the July 31 primary may vote in either but not both runoffs.

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