The race that really matters

Casting the right vote for sheriff is of paramount importance

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Republican congressional candidate Lee Anderson, says one close observer, decided early on to focus on getting votes outside of Richmond County.

“I guarantee you that’s why he has a tractor on his signs” – and why the road to Savannah is littered with them, says the observer.

Why? Because of the most intriguing open secret in Augusta politics in years: the expectation that great numbers of Republican voters in the county will be casting ballots in the Democratic primary, not the Republican one – due to the importance of choosing a competent successor for retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

We think it makes perfect sense. In heavily Democratic Richmond County, the Democratic ballot is where the action is.

And there’s no more important action in local politics this year than finding the right man to replace Ronnie Strength. Augusta politics have been nutty, confrontational and occasionally criminal over the past decade or so. The main exception and calming influence has been Sheriff Strength’s department.

We have, frankly, been spectacularly spoiled by a supremely functional sheriff’s department.

That is now at risk.

Moreover, with Augusta’s Weak-Mayor/Cantankerous Commission form of government, the sheriff is arguably the most powerful figure in town.

The impending GOP vote migration has been talked about by candidates for months, and the chatter hit the streets as advance voting in the July 31 primary actually got under way July 9.

Campaigns even have polled the issue. Word is that from 30 to 50 percent of Richmond County Republicans may cross over and vote in the Democratic primary – expressly to vote for sheriff’s candidate Capt. Scott Peebles, widely regarded as head and shoulders above his three competitors.

We chatted with one local Republican who said his wife was going to ask for a Democratic ballot “because she likes Scott Peebles,” but that he was torn and “changing my mind every other day.”

We hope he and many others join his wife in voting in the sheriff’s race.

The 12th District congressional race is undoubtedly important, more so than even in past years because it’s more competitive now: Democrat incumbent John Barrow is more vulnerable than ever, after the Census led to a more Republican-leaning district.

But the race pales in comparison to the Richmond County sheriff’s race, for all the reasons stated above and more: It’s highly unlikely the congressional race will be pivotal; Republicans are most likely to retain control of the U.S. House. They may even add to their seats, and it would delight them to no end to make Barrow’s seat one of them. But again, it won’t change things much.

The sheriff’s race has the capacity to change things greatly in Augusta. Replacing Ronnie Strength with a less-than-top-notch law enforcement officer, with the proper people skills and temperament, would be a massive step backward for this community.

There’s nothing more important on your ballot.

Comments (48) Add comment
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jpbrig
302
Points
jpbrig 07/16/12 - 03:51 am
2
6
I am voting GOP

I am going to vote in the Republican primary for Freddie Sanders for Sheriff and the congressional race. As for the weak mayor Billy Morris and Charles Walker made a deal for consolidation. The AC run the commission down every since then.

Riverman1
94500
Points
Riverman1 07/16/12 - 04:06 am
4
8
Vote for Freddie Sanders

The congressional election is the most important in our LIFETIME. This is the real deal to see how our country turns. Elect a Republican who can take back a seat from the Democrats. Vote for a Republican for Sheriff. Freddie Sanders is my choice. Do not vote for an avowed Obama supporter.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 07/16/12 - 04:15 am
6
0
Rick Allen,

Billy just threw you under the Roundtree train.

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 05:33 am
3
5
Don't be fooled

Many good men are in this race.....but one stands out to me...

Vote For Freddie Sanders!

dichotomy
37684
Points
dichotomy 07/16/12 - 06:15 am
3
6
The more I check things out

The more I check things out the more I like Sanders. Peebles is apparently a strong Obama supporter and that indicates he has flawed judgement and is easily fooled.

avidreader
3572
Points
avidreader 07/16/12 - 06:49 am
1
5
What!!!

To repeat and paraphrase Craig Spinks's remark -- The Roundtree bus is rolling over the congressional candidates. Is a Sheriff's race more important than a congressional? I'm not so sure.

Little Lamb
49372
Points
Little Lamb 07/16/12 - 09:37 am
4
0
Roundtree Bus

Craig Spinks made an interesting observation above, but I'm guessing that the Richmond County Republicans who cross over to vote for Peebles would have been pretty evenly split between Allen and McLeod. If so, then no harm, no foul. Just let the rest of the district decide the nominee.

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 07/16/12 - 10:40 am
6
1
(As many already know)I agree

(As many already know)I agree completely with the editorial. I don't know what is behind the anti-Peebles campaign but those of us residing in Richmond County recognize the truth - that there aren't enough Republicans in the county to elect a Republican in November. So take your pick of the Democrats, because that is the man who will be our next chief law enforcemnet officer.
Sorry so many have taken flight and moved to a more peaceful community, but look what we now have left...A majority of democrats.

faithson
5531
Points
faithson 07/16/12 - 07:53 am
5
2
partisanship

one of the big problems today is the hyper partisanship that many exhibit. I have lived in Augusta for 35 years, got educated (AC) and have been self employed. How any reasonably minded LOCAL cannot see that Peeples IS the best choice only goes to show how misguided some are by their allegiance to the Republican party, to a degree, it is mindful of so many of the European 'political parties' of the early 20th century. as an example I would use the idea that 'Mr. Peeples is incapable of serving because he is voting for Obama'... a construct that has NO bearing on his qualifications to serve. I say, stand back, look at our choices, think about what is best for us over the long haul... and I believe Peeples will prove to be the best choice.

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 08:07 am
3
7
Well good

I hope he has enough obama bumper stickers to give to yall......maybe 2 stickers....one on the front & one on the back.

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 07/16/12 - 08:28 am
6
1
I don't know who Roundtree

I don't know who Roundtree voted for in 2008, but I my guess would be Obama. Most lawyers vote Democrat because they resist tort reform, so I don't know who Sanders voted for. Does any one?

This is not a good reason for choosing a candidate, knowing it will mean a defeat.
November, as we know, will be a presidential election and the Democrats will be out in force to vote for Obama, which means right down the ticket (D)....Richmond County has voted Democrat for years.

So, what do we base our choice on? According to some, on the born loser.

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 08:45 am
4
3
Don't under estimate

Freddie has been a Rep. for a loooonnnng time...

Crime has taken over some areas ....esp. in South Augusta..blacks are just as sick of it as the whites are......some of the voices on here tell us day after day how they feel..THEY ARE SICK OF IT!!
Some have had multiple break-ins...they can't move ......they want to live in a safe neighborhood as much as we do....many have stated ON HERE....color of the man is not their biggest concern.....safe home/life is what matters...

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/16/12 - 09:44 am
8
0
I agree with the ACS. As much

I agree with the ACS. As much as I love Freddie Sanders, this is a Democratic race and if there is to be a shred of consistency and decency in this office, the choice must be Scott Peebles.

The things that are being used against Peebles are comparatively minor when lined up beside the character flaws, poor judgement and abuse of power that Roundtree has repeatedly demonstrated.

Don't let personal feelings cloud your reality. Not to cast your vote for Peebles is effectively to cast it for Roundtree, just as not to vote for Romney gives your support to Obama.

Little Lamb
49372
Points
Little Lamb 07/16/12 - 10:08 am
6
0
Absentee

I requested my absentee ballot by mail on Saturday. If you're interested, you need to provide them with your name, address, birthdate, and (because this is a party primary election) you have to tell them either Democratic or Republican primary choice. Don't forget to tell them which ballot you want. They are not mind readers. Also, you have to sign the request. Phone number is optional, but if you give it, they can call you if something is not right or not clear.

Requesting an absentee ballot by mail is the legal loophole for those who do not wish to show a photo I.D.

Also, do not forget to mail the ballot back in before election day!

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/16/12 - 10:07 am
3
4
Willow, we have agreed on a

Willow, we have agreed on a lot of things up to this point, but I must ask a question. How is not voting for Peebles a vote for Roundtree? There are TWO other viable candidates on the Democratic side of this race.

And since last weeks Metro Spirit foot-in-the-mouth comment: "He found South Augusta particularly aggressive. "Down in South Augusta --- they'll eat your young," "They don't care. They'll hate your guts just because."" ~ Scott Peebles (Candidate for Richmond County Sheriff) ...

Well come on fella hicktafied South Auguster folk ... let's go over yonder an have us a dip in that there cement pond ... wait ... let me put my teeth in for we go!

I am sorry but joke or no joke THAT comment in the Metro Spirit was uncalled for on so many levels.

But, hey, if this is who you want to represent the citizens of RC and especially South Augusta then go ahead and crossover and vote.

KSL
145067
Points
KSL 07/16/12 - 10:07 am
5
0
Willow, I can't begin to

Willow, I can't begin to tell youhow much I value your comment. Throwing your vote away is almost as bad as not voting at all.

I don't live there and I don't have a knowledgeable opinion. But it is clear that there needs to be improvement at this point in law enforcement in RC and especially downtown. All over, actually.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/16/12 - 10:25 am
2
3
This is a quote from someone

This is a quote from someone who is very dear to me, and I found it worth sharing today. I do not believe any comment from me is needed, because this pretty much says it all and then some:

"Honesty is Honesty. Truth is Truth. You can never deny the truth, hide the truth, cover up the truth. I will NEVER hang my head low for standing up for what I believe in nor will I ever be intimidated! I am a MAN of INTEGRITY and HONESTY! It is what it is and I will never be silenced. I sleep very well at night! Do you????"

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 10:28 am
2
3
South Augusta

Well weuns from ole south augusta better lisssten up to these other folks hehe heh..
I'm finding out how much Silas is LOVED in S Augusta....just like ksm said ..many others are in this race....why is it so many forget that...
Geez.....wish I had time to stay & post.

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 10:36 am
2
3
What do we know ksm

We just live-eat & breathe with the law..hahah
wel I did in the past...now it is country boy!...:)
Did I say sleep with the law too..heheh

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 07/16/12 - 10:38 am
4
0
This election is not so much

This election is not so much about the primary this month as the General Election in November. A Republican doesn't stand a chance in RC. Check past history. And the county is much more Dem than ever before.
I see all the red and yellow Roundtree signs.

seenitB4
98887
Points
seenitB4 07/16/12 - 10:43 am
3
3
Signs

I have seen the signs too.....most were Silas-Sanders....

Do yall know OTHERS are in this race......I know it is hard to even visualize that because their names rarely show up on here.
IMAGINE THAT!

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/16/12 - 10:50 am
1
2
Allhans ... I have only seen

Allhans ... I have only seen Roundtree signs in two places. One was on Gordon Highway in front of Club Velvet, and the other was up and down Barton Chapel Road. And it was the small yard signs. I haven't noticed any of the larger signs yet. But I must confess I do not go everywhere in Richmond County. I have just happened to see those signs when headed to a specific place.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 07/16/12 - 10:51 am
2
0
"Moreover, with Augusta’s

"Moreover, with Augusta’s Weak-Mayor/Cantankerous Commission form of government, the sheriff is arguably the most powerful figure in town."

Can we say deflection?
He doesn't control the purse strings in this town.
And I daresay we haven't had a sheriff on the board of "Augusta Tomorrow"

He may be the most powerful "elected" figure in town.

Remember ya'll, this consolidated government came under pressure/propaganda through the Augusta Chronicle that started in the 70s.

Just goes to show you to be careful what you wish for... you just might get it.

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 07/16/12 - 10:53 am
4
0
Party affiliation seldom means anything on the local level,
Unpublished

so if you have to cross over to vote for someone you actually know, then do it.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/16/12 - 10:58 am
4
1
Fun fact of the day ...

Fun fact of the day ...

There is only ONE person in County Government who has the authority to arrest a County Sheriff ... guess who?

The County Coroner is actually OVER the Sheriff! Grover Tuten is "THE MAN" in Richmond County ... :)

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/16/12 - 12:47 pm
6
0
Scott Peeble's Metro Remarks..

Karen, I hadn't caught this article until you mentioned it. I just read it over three times and I see it differently than you do; more as a tongue in cheek remark in response to all the false accusations he feels have been said about him apparently much of it originating from that direction. That’s the bad thing about live interviews, sometimes you just talk too much. Peebles should just apologize to the citizens of South Augusta. His lapse of good manners, though, changes nothing about the importance of this race or his ability to be a trustworthy sheriff.

As to the other two candidates; I don’t know enough about either of them to make a judgment other than to say, I don’t think they have the ability to be elected. To borrow from Peeble’s story, “He is the safe choice.”

Just like the national elections, we may have liked one over the other, but that doesn’t make any difference if they can’t get elected.
I would like to see this race become non partisan.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/16/12 - 12:44 pm
5
0
Thank you KSL

and I value yours as well. I couldn't agree more. We are seeing more of the criminal culture every day and not only in RC.

I think it is very important that we admit there is no candidate who has the power to fix all of these problems alone. If we have unrealistic expectations of what our Sheriff is to be, we will end up with a very non- effective one, or even worse, one who exacerbates the problems.

Voters should be leary of candidates who promise to be all things to all people...it's always a lie to gain personal power.

Riverman1
94500
Points
Riverman1 07/16/12 - 12:55 pm
3
2
Chronicle Supports Lee Anderson?

I find it interesting that the Chronicle has come up with a tactic to help Anderson win. Of the four candidates I consider him the weakest even though he is a nice guy. Because he is the one who will be hurt the least by fewer Republican votes in Richmond County this only benefits him. McLeod and Allen are depending on Richmond County votes.

If you want OUR Congressional seat to end up in the hands of Democrat John Barrow because he demolished Lee Anderson in the campaign to the general election then by all means ask for a Democratic ballot for the primary as the Chronicle suggests. This is the most important Congresssional election in our lifetime.

Little Lamb
49372
Points
Little Lamb 07/16/12 - 01:00 pm
5
0
Max Burns

is five times smarter than John Barrow, but Barrow crushed Burns in the debates just the way Burns crushed Champ Walker in the debates two years earlier.

Likewise, Barrow would turn Lee Anderson into chopped liver in a one-on-one debate.

But, not to worry, Riverman. Remember there are four Republicans running and they're all running pretty well. You can be assured there will be a run-off, where Anderson is not likely to win, even if he comes out ahead in the primary on July 31.

So, for Richmond County Republicans to cross over and vote in the Democratic Primary for sheriff will not mean disaster for Allen or McLeod. My prediction is that Allen & McLeod will face each other in the run-off in August.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/16/12 - 01:14 pm
5
0
Guys, guys,

I believe both of you RM and LL are correct; but it does make the most sense to cross over and vote democratic in the primary as you'll have another chance to vote for your preferred congressional candidate. We will fight about that race later.

All the surrounding counties are going to be greatly affected by the outcome of the election of the new Richmond County Sheriff.

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