Aitken, Fennoy headed to runoff for District 1 commission

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 10:29 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 2:49 AM

In a repeat of 2009, Augusta Commission member Matt Aitken and Bill Fennoy are headed into a Dec. 4 runoff for the District 1 commission seat.

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Matt Aitken (left) speaks with Keith Fell during his Election Night party at Fireside Outdoor Kitchen and Grills in Augusta.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Matt Aitken (left) speaks with Keith Fell during his Election Night party at Fireside Outdoor Kitchen and Grills in Augusta.

Aitken, the first white commissioner to represent the majority-black District 1, received 3,310 votes, or 39.74 percent, to Fennoy’s 2,491 votes, or 29.91 percent.

“We did extremely well, especially with it being a presidential election,” said Aitken, a chemical plant worker, at a victory party as vote totals confirmed the runoff. “I’m very excited about the confidence the voters in District 1 had in me.”

Fennoy, a retired health educator who watched election results come in at a family member’s home, said the numbers confirmed that voters wanted more.

“Sixty percent of the voters in District 1 are not satisfied with leadership and are looking for a change,” Fennoy said.

The four-way race motivated a 72.81 percent turnout, and each candidate received at least 1,200 votes.

Third-place finisher Denice Traina, a physical therapist and neighborhood
activist, received 1,293 votes, or 15.52

Stanley Hawes, the longtime president of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association, finished fourth with 1,235 votes, or 14.83 percent.

Traina, who gathered with family members at her Harrisburg home to watch results come in, said she had “absolutely no regrets” about her first attempt at elected office.

“I’ve gotten a greater appreciation of the diversity of District 1” and learned that many residents are concerned about gridlock” on the commission that prevents progress, she said.

Hawes, who was endorsed by the Augusta Firefighters Association, said he enjoyed helping elderly voters get to the polls Tuesday.

The election moves to a runoff because none of the four candidates received more than 50 percent of votes, the majority needed to win outright.

Aitken and Fennoy met in a similar runoff in 2009 after a four-way contest that included Harrisburg activist Butch Palmer and event planner JoRae Jenkins.

Aitken led in the 2009 election with 40 percent of the votes to Fennoy’s 32 percent in a race that drew only 19 percent of District 1 voters to the polls.

Aitken ran this year on a similar platform to 2009 – facilitating growth in the district – while Fennoy raised questions about why the growth and progress seemed to exclude many areas.

Aitken went into Tuesday’s election with $14,630 – five times as much as Fennoy.

Some observers think District 1, which includes the Harrisburg, Laney-Walker, Bethlehem, east Augusta, Olde Town and downtown communities, should be represented by a black commissioner to ensure a 5-5 split on the commission.

Fennoy, who is black, said restoring the balance is important.

“I think it will cause the commission to have to come together and discuss issues as a group,” he said.

Had there been a racially balanced commission, several controversial issues – including the outsourcing of Augusta Public Transit, a government restructuring plan, approval of a new personnel manual and a decision allowing the commission to continue to meet in the Lee Beard Commission Chamber rather than at the new courthouse – might not have passed in the past three years.

Though Aitken and Fennoy head into a runoff, three other candidates won commission posts outright Tuesday, including District 3 candidate Mary Fair Davis, who got 65.95 percent of votes over second-place finisher Ed Enoch’s 24 percent; District 7 candidate Donnie Smith, who received 55.33 percent of votes over Ken
Echols’ 44.67 percent; and former District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams, who was elected to represent Super District 9, received 55.32 percent of votes over Harold Jones, who received 44.68 percent.

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soitgoes 11/06/12 - 11:47 pm
Heaven Help Us!!!

We need Matt Aitken, now that MARION WILLIAMS will return to the Commission. Sheeesshhh!!

omnomnom 11/07/12 - 04:03 am
its not who we need in.. its

its not who we need in.. its who we need OUT that matters.
their names rhyme with mussel and rackenzie

Riverman1 11/07/12 - 08:17 am
Marion Williams returns, heh,

Marion Williams returns, heh, heh, heh. I'll also predict Fennoy wins the run-off. Now they can just outright send $50 million or so to Laney Walker. They don't need to do it as a trade-off.

Tullie 11/07/12 - 09:29 am
Marion Williams

Heeee's Back!!!!

Can you believe it? I am in shock, I could not believe it when I just read that.

Fiat_Lux 11/07/12 - 10:41 am
I believe it may be time to move

We're clearly channeling Detroit, and even if that somehow doesn't include the same level of corruption, it probably will surpass it in ignorance and in pushing a racial agenda.

Marion Williams is a bigger disaster than Roundtree, by far. That district might as well have elected a pain-in-the-rear 4-year-old with a bad case of the whines. Nothing good will be coming from the Richmond County Commission for the next 3+ years, no matter how hard rational people work for the good of all: Williams will shoot. them. down. He couldn't care less about the "all".

He's like the kid who always sticks his foot out as you walk back to your seat, or the one who taps his pencil on the back of your head so you can't accomplish a thing. He's about as insightful as a rock, but boy, does he ever take up everybody's time and patience trying to show how smart he is.

soapy_725 11/07/12 - 11:36 am
Chemcial factory worker or supervisor?

Working man or working man director? It is an important perception? His boss has to approve commission meetings, so maybe he is a factory technician and not a degree bearing academic?

Four horses in a four horse race. River City. Unreal. Scripted elections. And folks are worried about an "A". They had better look to their own Arse. Ben Dover has made another visit. He is more popular than Santa. LOL LOL Sheeple so starved for affection they will Ben Dover for anyone. LOL LOL And the sheeple fall for it every time. He is my man. No strings attached. LOL LOL

Augusta desires a visit from Rev. Wright. LOL LOL

soapy_725 11/07/12 - 11:38 am
Take heart Augusta.....

Obama may be the last POTUS you will know, Augusta may become a third world country, and your taxes will increase immensely, but Almighty God is still on the throne of this Universe.

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