Richard Roundtree attributes runoff win to seeking out voters

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 6:34 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 1:41 AM
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When the final votes were tallied Tuesday night in the Democratic runoff for Richmond County sheriff, the result left a lot of people scratching their heads.

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Roundtree  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/FILE
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/FILE
Roundtree

Many wondered how the candidate with the most media presence, the largest war chest and endorsements from the likes of Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Sheriff Ronnie Strength came up short – and how the underdog came out on top.

The winner, school system public safety Lt. Richard Roundtree, said his secret to success was no secret – he and his campaign team tried to make personal contact with as many voters as possible, from the time of his announcement in March to when the polls closed Tuesday.

Part of that strategy was out of necessity. Roundtree’s campaign didn’t have the deep pockets of his opponent, sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles, so buying a lot of campaign signs and billboards or paying for mailings was not an option.

When campaign finance reports were last filed with the state in early July, Peebles had more than $57,000 cash on hand. Roundtree had about $3,300.

Roundtree said his team had to be creative with few resources.

“Scott had over 600 signs. We only had 50, but we just kept moving ours,” he said. “I’ve always said they might outspend us, but they won’t outwork us.”

Roundtree said his strategy of reaching out to individual voters was ramped up for election day. His team of 35 volunteers continuously worked the streets, seeking out potential voters in stores, parks and other public places. They reminded voters to get to the polls and arranged rides for those who had no transportation.

Roundtree said he went to convenience stores all day Tuesday looking for voters who hadn’t made it to the polls.

“I must have bought 15 packs of chewing gum,” he said. “All day long, our strategy was to get our voters out.”
The numbers indicate the strategy worked.

Roundtree received almost 2,000 more votes in the runoff than he did in the July 31 primary, the accumulation of gains in 62 of 77 precincts. Peebles’ total dropped by almost 700, losing votes in 47 precincts.

Peebles’ supporters attributed the loss to complacency among those who voted for him in the primary.

“I have to hand it to Richard; he beat us fair and square,” said Strength, who endorsed Peebles after he came in first in the primary with about 47 percent of the votes cast.

“There’s not much else you can say about it,” he said. “Apathy will get you.”

Roundtree said it wasn’t just a matter of Peebles voters’ failing to show up. He said some of those voters came over to his side.

“We had folks tell us, ‘You know, I voted for Scott, but this time I’m voting for you,’ ” he said.

There is some evidence that might have occurred. Many of the precincts where Roundtree had his largest gains were the same majority black precincts where Peebles had his biggest declines.

Roundtree said he has learned a lot of lessons he intends to apply in the Nov. 6 race against Republican Freddie Sanders.

“Throughout this race we had no political advisers or a political machine behind us,” Roundtree said. “We made some mistakes along the way, but from the beginning we said we weren’t going to do a traditional campaign.”

Sanders said he expects a tough fight but intends to focus on issues and leave personal politics out of it.

“I have to congratulate Richard,” he said. “He ran a good campaign and worked hard. But I’m going to go after him, and I know he is going to go after me.”

Sanders said that despite Richmond County’s history of supporting Democrats, he thinks a Republican can win in November.

“I believe the people will look at the candidates and look at the issues and pick the best man,” he said.

Comments (29) Add comment
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dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 08/22/12 - 07:02 pm
13
5
"Secret to success?"

Ummm, how about a Black candidate in a majority African-American community? Churches bussing voters in? Duh.

constituent
164
Points
constituent 08/22/12 - 08:01 pm
4
12
It could have been a purple

It could have been a purple candidiate in a majority African - American community, if you not getting the word out about helping the youth and keeping the streets safe than your campaign will fall on deaf ears, "sorry Scott." It don't take money to win an election it take people getting out an voting. My son turned 18 early this year ,I took him and signed him up to vote and told him how one vote will makes a difference. We need your presence again on Nov. 6 there's still alot of work need to be done in Richmond County. When is pebbles going take down all his signs all over the place?

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/22/12 - 08:07 pm
4
10
I didn't see any busses.
Unpublished

I didn't see any busses. Congratulations, Mr. Roundtree..you worked hard...Especially considering all the mouthpieces working against you

just an opinion
2478
Points
just an opinion 08/22/12 - 08:18 pm
10
6
The race was all about race

Qualifications came last.

Fiat_Lux
15043
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/22/12 - 08:40 pm
10
1
There is only one reason Roundtree won

and that is because people who should have known better didn't go back and vote in the run-off. They sat back on their cans and let it happen.

We're getting exactly what we deserve, because he certainly does represent a majority of the populace of our county.

Conservative Man
5429
Points
Conservative Man 08/22/12 - 08:54 pm
5
4
Plus...

Having a sitting Sheriff who refused to endorse his hand-picked successor until it was too late didn't help either. This caused many Republicans (who knew Peebles is a conservative) to choose a Democratic ballot in July. Thus insuring they would NOT be able to vote for the better candidate vs. Barrow..
The end result of Strength's folly?....We'll have Roundtree as Sheriff and Barrow as Congressman...thanks for nothing Ronnie....

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/22/12 - 09:14 pm
5
5
Ok, conservative man. You
Unpublished

Ok, conservative man. You are saying Peebles running as a democrat was really an exercise in deceit. Is this who you really
want as sheriff?

Riverman1
82158
Points
Riverman1 08/22/12 - 09:21 pm
5
4
How in the world can you

How in the world can you expect Sheriff Strength to endorse anyone when he has three excellent people from the RCSO running for the Democratic nomination and someone he respects tremendously running for the Republican nomination?

Peebles had lots of baggage that was gradually surfacing as the campaigns went on. That's one of the reasons some of his previous voters stayed home.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/22/12 - 09:30 pm
5
6
I'm thinking some folks are
Unpublished

I'm thinking some folks are spending too much time listening to the radio in the afternoons.

willie7
947
Points
willie7 08/22/12 - 09:37 pm
1
9
Congratulations Roundtree, I
Unpublished

Congratulations Roundtree, I voted for you yesterday and will vote for you again in November.I believe you will be our next sheriff and I am looking forward to you reducing the crime rate in Richmond County.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 08/22/12 - 09:43 pm
4
0
I'm For Freddie!

Here's a link to Freddie's website. Use it, please! His slogan says it all! "It's not politics - it's the law!"

http://www.freddiesandersforsheriff.com/

Riverman1
82158
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Riverman1 08/22/12 - 09:45 pm
10
3
One of the main reasons some

One of the main reasons some Peebles' voters stayed home is the ugly, nonsensical attacks on Strength and his wife. That was totally out of line and turned off many voters.

Riverman1
82158
Points
Riverman1 08/22/12 - 09:53 pm
6
2
If I were looking into deceit

If I were looking into deceit in this election and who should have ran and who shouldn’t have, I’d look hard at Ivey getting in the race.

countyman
19716
Points
countyman 08/22/12 - 10:32 pm
2
11
The white mayor of Augusta

The white mayor of Augusta got over 60% of the vote during two straight elections, and beat out candidates who were black each time..

The majority of people who keep bringing up race live outside of Richmond County.. They're also usually the first to mention race is a major problem here in Augusta.. Like the surrounding counties live in this racial harmony utopia, and race issues only exist throughout Richmond County. Those counties are only dominated by white republicans, and race can't be mentioned..

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/22/12 - 10:40 pm
0
8
As long as a white person
Unpublished

As long as a white person wins, countyman, race is not an issue..the "right" person (the one with the "right" connections) won.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 08/22/12 - 11:57 pm
4
1
I do agree with Riverman on

I do agree with Riverman on his 9:45 comment. Some of Peebles media connections caused unnecessary drama with the Sheriff's decision to wait on the endorsement. Honestly, I don't think him waiting or having endorsed him early on would have had that much impact. Those who wanted Peebles to win the run-off should have come back out to support him.

KSL
126121
Points
KSL 08/23/12 - 12:15 am
4
0
Makes me feel like the black

Makes me feel like the black guy in the back seat of the car in Pulp Fiction --- I don't have an opinion. I still get my head blown off.

corgimom
31080
Points
corgimom 08/23/12 - 04:31 am
9
1
The majority of people

The majority of people bringing up race have lived and loved Richmond County far longer than you, Countyman, and we know the history and the players and the backstories. You don't.

And Countyman, perhaps you can explain why Augusta is called the most racially-divided city in the state of Georgia, and has been for many years. We know why that is, do you?

Grandpa Jones
1041
Points
Grandpa Jones 08/23/12 - 06:22 am
9
2
No need to be "Jim Crowing"

No need to be "Jim Crowing" about the election. Peebles' people didn't show up to vote and Roundtree's did.

seenitB4
85152
Points
seenitB4 08/23/12 - 06:34 am
6
2
You tell him corgi!

corgi said...
The majority of people bringing up race have lived and loved Richmond County far longer than you, Countyman, and we know the history and the players and the backstories. You don't.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/23/12 - 07:15 am
0
1
Countyman is either
Unpublished

Deke or his campaign manager/handler.prayer organizer. Just as with Mothershelper or whatever. Technology has given new meaning to "blowing your own horn".

Little Lamb
45275
Points
Little Lamb 08/23/12 - 07:53 am
4
0
Triple Whammy

Conservative Man posted:

The end result of Strength's folly?....We'll have Roundtree as Sheriff and Barrow as Congressman...thanks for nothing Ronnie....

Yeah, and we also got TSPLOST thrown in there, too. That stings.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/23/12 - 08:05 am
3
6
Some comments only show up
Unpublished

Some comments only show up when you are signed in....

Anywho, Congrats again Roundtree, you did what you had to do. Scott is not as "clean" as most wanted the majority to to think. FIRST HE IS DECEITFUL....i.e. Repub. to Dem. That alone is enought for me NOT to vote for him keeping in mind the RACIAL HISTORY of Augusta Ga.

$$, endorcements, billboard, yada yada....apparently none of that matters, someone should highlight the strategy of Mr. Roundtree because apparently, it worked....heck, it worked in Augusta, Ga.....so yea, it is worthy of attention.

It's a Roundtree Wrap!

AC I would like to see the results based on race as you did when Peebles gained more votes the first time around. Apparently this race was NOT about race, many of Silas and Peebles supporters seem to have supported Roundtree the 2nd time around.

O yea, all those Operations.....and none were set up on Washington Rd where you can get pills and other things so easily....makes you wonder huh.

If Scott had won, those that supported him $$ would have been the decision makers in Augusta, Ga......WE DO NOT NEED THAT ANYMORE.

The1Justice
58
Points
The1Justice 08/23/12 - 08:20 am
0
1
What caused this is.....
Unpublished

Why Peebles didn't get elected is because we had Silas who had no business in the 1st place split the vote up and ran a embarrasing campaign his numbers proved it. Silas thought he could be Sheriff (how funny) and caused Peebles to lose. If Silas never would have ran Strength would have endorsed Peebles from the beginning and would not have made it to the runoff and ended up losing votes due to people not showing up. So in the end Silas is to blame for having Peebles to lose. So now we have a pervert most likely to be the next Sheriff and with a King Sized bed in his office to sleep with his employees . Great way to teach the youth screw as many women and cheat on your wife.......the whole youth thing is a fake just to get elected..

Fiat_Lux
15043
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/23/12 - 08:50 am
3
0
HW3

I don't think you really know the racial history of this area, of the South, nor of the United States. You seem to know what has been force-fed to public school students for right at 4 decades now, not to mention the absolutely skewed perspective in almost all baccalaureate education.

You need some seasoning, son.

zippy
250
Points
zippy 08/23/12 - 09:56 am
3
0
Why are so many people saying

Why are so many people saying that Freddie Sanders CANNOT win in November. The way I see it, Roundtree pushed very hard to get the votes he received in the primary. Then in the runoff he pushed again and probably shocked himself that he received even more votes than he did in the original vote. I think it is safe to say that he has probably maxed out the number of votes he can expect to receive.

On the other hand, Peebles lost some votes in the runoff, arguably due to apathy or specific issues that cause some to just oppose him. He lost the runoff by 447 votes. Nevertheless, there were 3676 republicans that held so tight to their conservative values that they chose to forego voting in the democratic runoff. Since they actually voted republican in the runoff, we can assume that they will vote in November. Also, since they held to their conservative conviction, it is very likely that every vote will go to Sanders. Assuming that Peebles supporters go to Sanders (not a stretch here), that would give Sanders a margin of victory of 3229 votes.

I know that with so many other races going on in November, that there will likely be more total votes to count, but I believe that the primary represent a good estimation of the margins to expect.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/23/12 - 10:00 am
0
4
I guess I have been living
Unpublished

I guess I have been living under a rock all of these years....all of my elementary, middle, and high. NT to mention my work in the community...

Son, I have lived here all of my life minus my time in college...a condesending comment...what's new?

You must not live anywhere near

pjsavage57
5
Points
pjsavage57 08/23/12 - 09:59 am
3
0
Statement misunderstood?

In reading Wednesday's article about Mr. Roundtree's election he made the comment that "we're not going to let them dictate our destiny" I would just like to know who he is referring to as "them"

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/23/12 - 10:01 am
0
5
^ See, everything is about
Unpublished

^ See, everything is about race here....sigh.

BeachGirl
29
Points
BeachGirl 08/23/12 - 12:47 pm
3
5
Congratulations Richard

Congratulations Richard Roundtree for a job well done!!! You will be our next sheriff of Augusta Richmond County. For those who attended the forums, we know Freddie is not a threat, he was just a part of the PLOT to steer the voters to vote for Peebles. The voters know that Freddie's platform is not current with the 21st Century, his major task is to throw everyone in jail and let the court system make the decisions. Thank goodness he's out of touch with reality because if Freddie had a chance to be the sheriff he would cause Augusta Richmond county commissioners to impeach him for attempting to bankrupt the city for trying to feed all the inmates he has "thrown in jail".... Community Policing...Advisory boards, accredidation, a second chance, youth, change and progress...is foreign language for Freddie. Richard, continue your face to face, house to house strategy it worked for Peebles it will definently work for Freddie and the voters will elect you as our next Sheriff of Augusta Richmond County.

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