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.

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burninater
9580
Points
burninater 08/23/12 - 11:21 am
3
4
Given the abject failure of

Given the abject failure of the current regime to keep crime rates under control, I don't understand why anyone thinks that endorsements by Copenhaver and Strength would have any result but rejection of their candidate. And by "rejection" I mean "wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole".

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 08/23/12 - 11:58 am
0
1
Does anyone take ANYTHING
Unpublished

Does anyone take ANYTHING Countyman takes as serious? I hope not. He's nothing more than a mouthpiece for the mayor and sugar won't melt in his mouth when he's glowing on Downtown AGA. Your man Deke was fortunate in his previous races, but take a very LONG HARD look at him behind that desk at the marble palace, when his term is done, he's done and you probably won't see another white mayor in your lifetime. The demos have just changed and "people of color" vote almost to a man in a bloc for "people of color", doesn't matter whether the candidate is qualified or a convicted felon.

Roundtree was the least qualified of all the candidates, has proven himself to be unprofessional in his handling of duties and he won....why? No response needed.

The people of Richmond County have ONE MORE chance to right a wrong. Freddie Sanders is the most qualified man left standing. Hopefully, the people who care about honest law enforcement will show up to support him. Otherwise you're going to have a sheriff with a posse riding around in a limo deputizing all his friends and family...count on it.

Not expecting this post to stay up very long, so enjoy while you can....

BeachGirl
29
Points
BeachGirl 08/23/12 - 12:03 pm
3
2
Thanks to Scott Peebles

Thanks to Scott Peebles GREED, he lost the race for himself and R.W. Allen (12th Dist). Had scott not tried to be GREEDY, striving to have the best of both worlds.....posing as a DEMOCRAT..... at the same time a die-hard REPUBLICAN, convencing all his republican supporters to vote on a DEMOCTATIC ticket, he probably would have had a better chance in the runoff..but GREED..... has always brought man to reveal his integrity, fall short----and Lose..... This should be a lesson learned ....BE YOURSELF don't try to under-mind the DEMOCRATS/Citizens/Voters of Augusta Richmond County!!!!!!!!

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 08/23/12 - 01:00 pm
3
0
Is Austin still crying?

Since I live in Aiken, I don't care what happens in Georgia Regents -- I mean Augusta. Of course, now that Academy Sports is coming to Aiken, the only reason I'll ever have to cross the river will be to go to Atlanta.

Having said all that, those of you who have been around for more than 10 years, will remember Austin Rhodes trying to bully the people into voting for a Sheriff in Aiken County. Fortunately, he failed in that attempt as well and we ended up with the best sheriff this county has had in the last 20 years that I have lived in this area.

I just wish there was something better to listen to on the radio when I am driving home after work. We need a real conservative on the radio. Not one that belittles people for having opinions (occasionally more conservative) other than his.

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 08/23/12 - 01:06 pm
4
0
Further more...

Why exactly would ARCO want to vote for more of the same anyway? I am getting tired of turning on the news EVERY NIGHT and reading about another shooting in ARCO. Obviously the law enforcement (sheriff's office?) is not doing something right over there.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 08/23/12 - 01:14 pm
1
0
observations

I wanted and voted for Scott based on his QUALIFICATIONS and nothing else. Maybe that is my error.
Richard Roundtree, congratulations! I feel you will be our next Sheriff.
River, you have spoke very highly of Sanders and the Republican party, lets see what happens in November.
And to Corgimon, who I disagree with more than not, I AGREE with your posts today. Well said.

countyman
20118
Points
countyman 08/23/12 - 01:29 pm
2
4
Who calls Augusta the most

Who calls Augusta the most racially divided city in the state? The same people who bash Augusta daily on here, and bring up Detroit when mentioning our crime rate...

If you look at the census, Augusta is by far one of the least segregated cities in terms of whites/blacks living together..

What does the past race issues of Augusta have to do with the present? Deke Copenhaver(white male) won over 60% of the vote, and you can't spin the FACTS...

Anybody who is familiar with Georgia knows Augusta isn't the most racially divided in the state... All you have to do is visit the majority of South Georgia for instance...

Corgimom... Have you been to Macon, Albany or small towns around Georgia?

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 08/23/12 - 01:30 pm
2
0
Observations 2

those that choose to stick their head in the sand cannot see around them. Since consolidation, this city cannot vote on ANYTHING without considering race.
It has been a well known fact that if you want to win an election, you must be a Democrat (there have been a few exceptions to that rule but not many)!
Several have "owned" the city/county but none have run it like Charles Walker.
Racial tension is still at an all time high because neither side 'trusts' the other side.

countyman
20118
Points
countyman 08/23/12 - 01:54 pm
2
3
Reality

People tend to think the grass is always greener on the other side.. The census shows Augusta is one of the least segregated cities in the entire US..

How is Augusta unique from the rest of Georgia? All of the large cities in the state of Georgia are run by democrats... Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Macon, Athens, Columbus, etc.. They're suburban counties are run by the local republicans..

Who really thinks cities like Albany would elect an white mayor anytime soon?

When's the last time either Atlanta or Savannah had a white mayor?

Who believe's the majority of cities/towns in North Georgia would elect somebody black?

bluelightspecial6969
15
Points
bluelightspecial6969 08/23/12 - 01:46 pm
2
3
JUICEY FRUIT

YES I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THERE VOTE OVER TO RICHARD. I THINK THAT ENDORSMENT FROM THAT PACK OF LOCAL YAHOO'S FROM WAYNESBORO AND WADLEY HURT PEEBLES ALOT MADE HIM LOOK STUPID. BUT OH WELL HEY AUSTIN RHODES IF YA DONT MIND HELP SCOTT GATHER UP ALL THESE SIGNS BY FRIDAY IM TIRED OF LOOKING AT THEM.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 08/23/12 - 01:46 pm
2
0
Hometown

I assert that who cares what other towns, or cities are doing. I myself have lived in R.C. since 1972 and I only care what happens here.
A lot of these posters don't even live in R.C.
Countyman, I only know of and care about what happens right here in my county. I know the facts and I can filter the spin.
The county charter was designed to have a 50/50 split, ensuring racial differences from the beginning.
Who was the main crafter of this great mess we have now?

countyman
20118
Points
countyman 08/23/12 - 02:00 pm
3
2
I care about what happens

I care about what happens here too, and the census results show Augusta is one of the least segregated cities... The majority of white/black people living here want to work together.. They didn't run when parts of South Augusta, Harrisburg, etc became too black..

The city needs to have more people under the age of 40 in higher positions, and the race issue will continue to lose steam..

Atlanta who is the poster child of race relations in Georgia hasn't elected an white mayor since 1974...

While race relations are important factors in moving this city ahead, the more important thing is to have proactive leaders instead of reactive..

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 08/23/12 - 02:02 pm
2
0
census

The census report doesn't show how the commission is unable to work together for the better of all. Everyone is worried about their district.
When they do work together, it must be a "deal".
This is not promoting racial harmony.
Throw in some's dislike of Deke and Billy Morris, it's hard to work with anyone and form a consensus.
Some commissioners have tried, but for whatever reason they got burned and told themselves "never again".
That is the truth without any spin.

AutumnLeaves
7638
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/23/12 - 05:04 pm
3
1
All my life....

I suppose Clayton County Georgia is trying to parallel somewhat the Charles Walker fiasco here. They just elected a sheriff that has 37 felony charges and a trial pending against him. Knowing that, why are we surprised that Roundtree got elected over Peebles, despite Roundtrees questionable (to put it nicely) work history while working for the Sheriff's department, because of which it was either be fired or resign? A questionable background, shaky job skills and/or even jail time (in some local races in the past) seem to be pluses rather than a minuses for elected office and other job opportunities in Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia. The more legitimate credentials, the more exacting qualifications and the more proven experience, a candidate has, the less chance that one seems to be to get the job.

AutumnLeaves
7638
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/23/12 - 05:20 pm
3
1
Previous poster....

A previous poster, Pointspjsavage... wrote: "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"." That is code for white people. If the phrase "our people" is used in similar contexts, it means "black people". When they say "vote for 'Our party' to elderly voters at the polls asking who they should vote for, they mean the Democrat party. The persons making it about race are the people saying things like that they are voting for a man "like them", when what they are meaning by "like them" is that he is black. I didn't hear anyone voting for Peebles because he is "like them". Voters voted for Peebles based on his accomplishments and work record while working for the sheriff's department, his managerial and his administrative skills, his communication skills, his credentials and qualifications that far outweigh Roundtree's. I not only saw this through all media, but when I went to Peebles for help with crime in a specific area of town. I did not get the results I hoped and prayed for until I spoke to Peebles directly. I had been fighting to clean up our community for over 7 years when I finally was able to bring the problems to Peebles. He listened and he went to work. Our area was covered in one of his undercover operations with huge success. I am very sorry for Augusta that they did not vote for him. I will vote for the best qualified out of the remaining two candidates and it won't be Roundtree.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 08/23/12 - 05:51 pm
0
0
Countyman

I've lived in all 3 of the large cities of Georgia. Augusta is the most 'in your face' racially divided city. Savannah has it's problems but they have black leadership in the city. Atlanta is full of black people in political positions. From what I've seen and lived around, Augusta is by far the most impoverished for minorities and the opportunities are minimal. Jobs are lacking, politics in the city is like a reality tv show, crime is steadily increasing though they claim it's better. Personally, I get tired of the spin. Change is needed so people can live safely and prosper.

Riverman1
83711
Points
Riverman1 08/23/12 - 06:25 pm
0
0
AutumnLeaves, is that really

AutumnLeaves, is that really you? It doesn't sound like you.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/23/12 - 07:12 pm
0
0
Lol River ... she could

Lol River ... she could always move to another county ... oh wait ... scratch that idea!

Gage Creed
17183
Points
Gage Creed 08/23/12 - 08:45 pm
0
0
If the truth doesn't

If the truth doesn't work...just spin it....

AutumnLeaves
7638
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/25/12 - 01:20 pm
1
0
I'm not sure...

It is the same AutumnLeaves it has always been Riverman1. Who is the "she" you are writing about Karen? If you think you are talking about me, I don't know what you mean about moving. Where I live and whether I move is none of your business. I might move and I might not. But I am in Richmond County at the present and even if I don't stay I have family members and friends who will be here indefinitely. It is important to me that we ALL have a safe community to live in. So I want the best qualified man, with PROVEN experience, for the job of sheriff.

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