A handful of area pastors have thrown their support behind Jefferson County candidate Diane Evans in her runoff Tuesday for House District 127 with Brian Prince, a retired Army lieutenant colonel.
Evans’ campaign released a letter of support Tuesday signed by the Revs. K.B. Martin, Clarence Moore, Karlton Howard and Chavas Boyd; the Rev. Willie Jones, of Stapleton; the Rev. Carl Simmons, of Louisville; and the Rev. Isaac Culbreath, of Louisville.
Martin and Howard, the brother of Augusta legislator Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, are affiliated with the Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta, a black activist pastors group that has sued the city over matters related to consolidation, the city administrator’s authority and redistricting.
Evans, a retired educator, pastor and Georgia delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, “wants to keep the power of our mayor in check” and stands behind President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to the letter.
“She is correct on all of our issues,” it said.
Evans’ campaign manager, Eric Gray, said she hoped to debate Prince about the issues, including any plans he might have for changing Augusta’s charter or the structure of local government, as members of the legislative delegation have tried to do in years past, but no debate has been scheduled.
Prince responded Tuesday with a few new high-profile endorsements of his own, including the Richmond County Association of Educators and Pastors Charles Goodman and Herman Mason.
The former Glenn Hills sports standout has out-raised Evans 4 to 1, according to the latest campaign filings, but Gray said he hoped her recent inclusion on the Georgia WIN List, a statewide network of support for female Democratic candidates, would change that.
Prince, whose big financial backers include recent University System Board of Regents appointee James Hull, entrepreneur Keith Brown and former Augusta Commission candidate and Hardie Davis campaign manager Ed Enoch, said that although he told The Chronicle he was interested in increasing the Augusta mayor’s authority, he is “against changing anything in the consolidation packet right now,” because the commission-weak mayor system established in the charter “is basically to ensure fairness and compromise.”
Prince added that he, too, supports “Obamacare.”
Early voting is underway at the Board of Elections offices in the two counties, and 13 polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.