Less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 elections, an Augusta candidate for Congress remains little more than a name on the ballot.
Patricia Carpenter McCracken, who paid the $5,220 fee to run in March as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Rick Allen, hasn't made any known appearances or done any campaigning since then.
She spoke briefly with reporters in the spring but didn't answer phone calls this week. Calls to her Scotts Way home phone were answered by a device that requested an unknown code to leave a message.
McCracken is challenging the popular incumbent Allen, who bested fellow Republican Eugene Yu with 79 percent of votes in the primary. Allen won the seat from five-term centrist Democrat John Barrow in 2014 after its boundaries were redrawn to favor Republicans. It's now about 60 percent white.
Allen has maintained a presence during the campaign period with a bus tour and frequent appearances. He has raised more than $1 million, including $528,655 from individuals and $446,075 from committees, for the primary and general elections. McCraken reported to the Federal Election Commission she loaned herself $34,410.
The congressman's communications director, Madison Fox Porter, said he's worked hard to restore education authority to the local level, authored legislation successful in the House to protect Americans from "IRS abuse" and voted to fully repeal Obamacare.
The next local event for Allen, the owner of R.W. Allen and Associates, is a "Bring Small Businesses Back" town hall meeting Tuesday at the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta.
McCracken's appearance on the ballot – and her primary win against Joyce Nolin, an Evans candidate who visibly campaigned, on an anti-Opportunity School District platform – continues to frustrate area Democrats, who haven't seen McCracken at all.
"It's not fair to the people of Augusta who live in the 12th District. We would ordinarily challenge with the best candidate we have," said Lowell Greenbaum, chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party.
Greenbaum said McCracken hasn't attended any party functions. "She's chosen to run as an isolated individual," he said.
Despite her lack of visible campaigning, McCracken will get votes, particularly among some hard-line Democrats who are prevalent in Richmond County.
Pearl Brown, voting early Thursday, said she usually votes a straight Democratic ticket, but bypassed McCracken for a man she said has helped needy golf teams with donations.
"It was really tough for me, but I really like Rick," Brown said.
Environmentalist Frank Carl speculated McCracken is reclusive but won the primary due to name recognition. McCracken unsuccessfully challenged Carol Porter for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Voters "vote for the name they know," Carl said.
McCracken made news in 1991 attempting to help Hyde Park residents when dumped oil started running through a neighborhood ditch, according to The Augusta Chronicle's archives. She told The Chronicle this spring she's done environmental research and journalism and helped women gain access to health care.
Augusta activist Moses Todd, who's busy working a local union phone bank ahead of the Nov. 8 contest, said he met McCracken about 30 years ago through the Sierra Club.
"I haven't seen her in 25 years for sure," Todd said. "I'm urging all my Democrat friends not to waste their vote on a ghost candidate."
Todd challenged McCracken to prove she's alive.
Her husband, Augusta attorney William McCracken, confirmed Thursday that she is but declined to comment further.
"The only thing I can say is call the house and leave a message," he said.