An election in the middle of summer can catch you napping.
Augusta-area voters don’t have that luxury. One of the races on Tuesday’s ballot is the most important in some time.
Richmond County voters are choosing a successor to respected, effective, retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength. Getting this choice wrong could result in an alpine-style drop-off in the quality of department management and area law enforcement. It could also toss the department into the vat of toxic politics that Augusta has been trying to climb out of over the years.
This editorial page has made a career out of meeting, interviewing and evaluating political candidates and elected leaders through the decades. And we can tell you that we’ve rarely met a man more suited to the office he is seeking than Democratic sheriff’s candidate Capt. Scott Peebles, whom we endorsed with enthusiasm July 22.
His election is so important to the functionality of local law enforcement that we are urging Republicans in Richmond County to cast Democrat ballots on Tuesday, for the express purpose of voting for Peebles.
We generally don’t endorse in primary elections, unless a competive race later in the general election is unlikely, or the
primary race is just too important to let go without comment. Both conditions are present in the sheriff’s race.
Some others in that category on Tuesday:
• We’d be nuts not to re-elect Elaine Creed Johnson as clerk of Superior Court. She’s worked in the office since 1973, and was first elected to lead it in 1993. She’s got this essential, sweeping government office absolutely humming.
• Superior Court Judge Carlisle Overstreet just cannot be touched by his competition, who has had to struggle just to be qualified to run against Overstreet.
• Former state Rep. Barry Fleming, who left office a few years ago to try a run at Congress, is seeking to return his common-sense conservatism to Atlanta. Mr. Fleming’s advocacy for crime victims and law enforcement has been sorely missed at the Capitol. We have the chance to send him back to keep fighting the good fight, and we urge voters in District 121 (Columbia and McDuffie counties) to do just that.
Don’t let summer fun lull
you into complacency. While your ballot choices are few, and the time it takes you to vote will be short and sweet, your decisions will resonate for years. Please get out and vote on Tuesday.