Campaign donations trickle in for Augusta Commission District 1 candidates

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 5:50 PM
Last updated Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 1:35 AM
  • Follow Elections

The candidates are the same, but the river of campaign cash that helped propel Matt Aitken to a runoff victory against Bill Fennoy three years ago has slowed.

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Aitken, now the Augusta Commission incumbent defending his seat against a challenge by Fennoy, has raised just $4,240 since the Nov. 6 general election, according to campaign filings due last Friday.

The donations, including $1,500 from event promoter Lewis Blanchard, $200 from builder Rodger Giles, $1,000 each from retired banker Monty Osteen and developer Clay Boardman, and $450 from developer Braye Boardman, plus a handful of smaller contributions, left Aitken $8,548 on hand.

The report, filed Thursday, cited no expenditures.

By comparison, Aitken raised $18,478 during the same period three years ago.

Their second runoff hasn’t attracted the same cash for Fennoy, either. The retired health educator reported raising $2,300 during November, including $500 from International Formal Wear, owned by Development Authority of Richmond County Chairman Henry Ingram.

Fennoy’s largest donation was $750 from from Jim Moss, the director of PRM Consulting, a human resources consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

He also received $500 from lawyer Randy Frails, $200 each from physicians Calvin Hobbs and Andrew Bowman, and a $500 gift from health insurer Cigna.

Three years ago, Fennoy raised $7,755 during the same period. November expenses of more than $7,038 left the candidate with a negative campaign balance Friday of $4,738.

The closely watched runoff has the potential to restore to the commission what some in the community believe should be a racial balance – five black members and five white members.

Aitken, a white chemical plant worker with a prison ministry, surprised many when he won election in the 65 percent black District 1 in 2009.

Watching less closely, however, appear to be the 14,155 registered voters of District 1. Just under 3 percent of them had cast ballots during the eight days of advance voting preceding this Tuesday’s runoff.

Fennoy has been endorsed by former District 1 Commissioner Betty Beard and former mayoral candidate Lori Davis, while Aitken has the stated support of Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioners Jerry Brigham and Wayne Guilfoyle, and accepted a $500 contribution from retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

“I’d feel more comfortable with the known, rather than the unknown, at this point,” Bowles said.

Others have taken a hands-off approach.

Commissioner Bill Lockett called any report that he was supporting Aitken “a blatant lie” and said he would never endorse any candidate in a nonpartisan election.

Commissioners Corey Johnson and Grady Smith and Sheriff-elect Richard Roundtree said they will work with whoever is elected.

“I am supporting the candidate that the citizens of District 1 choose to represent them,” Roundtree said.


Polls will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Tuesday’s District 1 Augusta Com­mission runoff. The polling locations are:

  • 101 Asbury United Methodist Church, 1305 Troupe St.
  • 102 Crawford Ave. Baptist Church, 507 Crawford Ave.
  • 103 Dyess Park, 902 James Brown Blvd.
  • 104 Eastview Recreation Center, 644 Aiken St.
  • 105 Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1260 Wrightsboro Road.
  • 106 Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.
  • 107 Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.
  • 108 Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3131 Walton Way
  • 109 May Park, 708 Fourth St.
  • 110 Peabody Apartments, 1425 Walton Way
  • 111 Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel, Paine College, 1235 Druid Park Ave.
  • 112 St. John Towers, 724 Greene St.
  • 113 W.T. Johnson, 1612 Hunter St.
  • 114 Bernie Ward Community Center, 1925 Lumpkin Road
  • 115 Southside Baptist Church, 3612 Mike Padgett Highway
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Conservative Man
Conservative Man 12/02/12 - 04:43 pm
Word on the street...... that Aitken campaign "operatives" are telling people that Commissioner Bill Lockett is supporting Aitken...

If true it says one of two things....The Aitken people believe this race to be close enough to resort to political "dirty tricks" in order to win...

Or they are liars.....

Riverman1 12/02/12 - 08:44 pm
"event promoter"

"event promoter"

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