Hot summer, hot election season

Your vote is important -- make your voice heard

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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.

Comments (32) Add comment
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seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 07/28/12 - 04:57 am
3
4
SaY What...

A vat....they say,,
It could also toss the department into the vat of toxic politics that Augusta has been trying to climb out of over the years.

Please tell me again...toxic politics geared for downtown ALL the time--in EVERY way...It is toxic ....ya got that right...
Augusta pls vote for the man you thnik will do the BEST job...for ALL OF RICHMOND COUNTY......& that man may not be sp.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 06:22 am
7
5
The RCSO is bitterly divided

The RCSO is bitterly divided into three distinct camps. Ronnie Strength was able to keep things together, but Scott Peebles only intensifies the divisions. He is NOT the man to bring this department together.

Peebles' supporters have attacked Ronnie Strength and his wife in the nastiest fashion.

Democrats vote for Robbie Silas. Republicans vote for Freddie Sanders and the Congressional candidate of your choice. Maintaining control of the House is the most important election in our lifetime.

allhans
24522
Points
allhans 07/28/12 - 07:53 am
7
1
Jon Lester
2440
Points
Jon Lester 07/28/12 - 09:40 am
7
1
Barry Fleming's "common sense conservatism?"

The net result of his run against Paul Broun in the 2008 primary was to make himself look like the bigger fool, and that's no small feat with regard to Broun.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 10:35 am
5
4
This deal about not voting

This deal about not voting party labels used to be valid when we had conservative Southern Democrats and others, but those days have passed. Tell me one Democrat that’s not a socialist? One.

If you are thinking Hillary, remember she worked hard for Bill trying to pass a health care bill like Obama’s when Clinton was President. Her book, “It Takes a Village” clearly lays out her socialist agenda. So again I ask, tell me one Democrat who is not a socialist?

It’s time for Richmond County candidates to man up and get out of the socialist Democratic Party. Nothing is worth compromising your principles if you are conservative. We have to destroy the Democratic Party from top to bottom. This year’s election is IT. We are standing divided at a Berlin Wall. Get on the right side and that’s a straight Republican ticket.

avidreader
3478
Points
avidreader 07/28/12 - 11:00 am
8
0
Bipartison Candidates!

Can someone answer the following question? Please post a comment. Why does a sheriff have to be a democrat OR a republican? This seems stupid. It makes me think that the sheriff has to tow the line with a political affiliation instead of remaining neutral. It's a strange world we live in.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 11:23 am
3
5
Avid Reader

The way things are now nationally at this critical juncture, I'd rather see all elections, such as County Commission, become partisan. I want to know if a candidate supports Democrats in any way. The worst thing for law enforcement in Richmond County would be if a Democratic, Obama supporter, became Sheriff.

janderson1945
1903
Points
janderson1945 07/28/12 - 01:52 pm
8
0
Sheriff's election

My family went to the first forum with our neighbors, who happen to be democrats. Although we are republicans, it was clear that Scott Peebles would be the best Sheriff. We then went to the Good Government meeting, where most there obviously supported Peebles and then another forum and in all cases, Peebles message, professionalism and preparedness outshined each of them. Then we started hearing all of this stuff about what deputy likes whom, etc. so we did exactly what a deputy told us to do and took to Facebook and what they told us was very accurate in the fact that Sanders has no FB page, Roundtree has no visible support from any deputies on his page, Silas has a couple and Peebles has easily over 100 deputies & sherifs employees that visibly support him and have posted on his FB page verifying that support. It is clear who the deputies want, let’s just hope the citizens’ vote for the best man and fully support Peebles as well. It is obvious that some will post anything on here, true or otherwise so my suggestion would be go look for yourself and you will easily see the deputies, even high ranking officers have posted in support of Peebles and are a part of his online campaign.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 12:37 pm
4
2
High Society said, "Majority

High Society said, "Majority of the public will see through the lies, rumors, and bs that a few has spread on social media the last few months. It appears that it has already caught up with some of the drama queens."

What did you see that you think is a lie? I've read things about all the candidates and even though some of it is embarrassing to the candidates I haven't seen anything I would consider untrue. I'm not saying there's nothing out there, but I'd like to see something that's been brought out that's not true for my own knowledge.

Also, what do you mean something has caught up to the "drama queen."

janderson1945
1903
Points
janderson1945 07/28/12 - 12:38 pm
8
0
Avid Reader

A sheriff does not make laws and therefore his political views, as you point out, are insignificant. Any Sheriff will protect you no matter your views and deputies will respond without asking your party affiliation. This absolutely should be a non-partisan race for the best prepared person to lead the agency and that is Peebles.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 12:46 pm
3
3
I believe a Sheriff's political views are very important

We have a growing illegal immigrant population in Richmond County. If a Sheriff takes the lead of the Democratic Obama administration he would have to overlook such activities. In addition, we know Democrats have a general soft on crime view. The political beliefs of Sheriffs are very important.

About the Facebook discussion. Some say what's said there is important and some say it's not. I wonder which it is?

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 01:27 pm
1
1
HS

I didn't say SP hasn't worked hard. Which candidates do you think have not worked hard? Silas? Ivey? Roundtree?

But to the point, someone running as a Democrat in 2012 has a lot of baggage in my mind. Things have changed. It's now us against them and Dems are them.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 01:56 pm
1
1
I have not heard any officers

I have not heard any officers make negative comments about Robbie Silas. He has managed his road patrol well.

This election is starting to remind me of the Aiken Sheriff's race where Jody Rowland was supposed to be the shoo-in against Michael Hunt. Hunt has proved to be an excellent sheriff from the time he put the sign on his door, "New Sheriff in Town."

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 02:15 pm
1
1
HS, with that Democratic Ballot Have Fun

Also, when Lee Anderson ends up the Republican nominee for Congress remember the crossover voters helped him.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/28/12 - 02:56 pm
1
0
drama queen

HS ... Do you mind saying who is the drama queen you are referring to?

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 03:05 pm
1
1
HS

I said, "I have not heard any officers make negative comments about Robbie Silas. He has managed his road patrol well."

HS said, "If you believe that I've got a bridge for sale."

And this, "Comparing Aiken County to Richmond County is about as funny as your comment on Silas supervising his shift (all 18)."

It seems to me disrepecting road patrol officers that way displays the division in the RCSO. It will take Freddie Sanders to eliminate such attitudes.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 07/28/12 - 03:08 pm
1
0
HS Actually referred to "drama queens"

There were two women prominently posting on Facebook in support of Silas. Patti Strength and KSM. I guess he meant them.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 07/28/12 - 03:17 pm
2
0
Darn

I wanted to be the drama queen...dang RM

HS...It is true I don't live in the area...BUT my love ones do...most of them...you know the love ones you could give your life for w/o blinking... I know the man Freddie is...I know he won't bow down to the top notch folks pulling strings their way...
We can say we have many good candidiates in this race---we do...I admire some of them....but I put my faith & trust in Freddie Sanders.

HankPym
14
Points
HankPym 07/28/12 - 03:19 pm
2
0
Partisan positions

While I fully understand someone in a position such as a representative, governor, commissioner, etc. should be held to a specific affiliation because they are making decisions for you. The Sheriff is not one of those positions. As it was mentioned already I find it hard to believe a Sheriff would like party line affect safety. The comment on immigration would go back to if it is illegal something should be done. Law enforcement by definition is to identify criminal activity, report it, and try to justly identify the person(s) responsible. The court is who is either hard or soft on criminals and the Superior court Judges are not held to a partisanship

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/28/12 - 03:22 pm
2
0
RM, No disrespect here. I've

RM, No disrespect here. I've mentioned several times that Silas is a great officer, but not supervisor material and absolutely not Sheriff material. I want to be alot of things, but that doesn't mean I'm qualified or even fit to become them. Some folks feel they are entitled to things and some earn things. I wont even respond to the drama questions or remarks because that will do just that cause more drama, and feed the need of those seeking it. Hope everyone has a great night.

HankPym
14
Points
HankPym 07/28/12 - 03:22 pm
0
0
Partisan positions

While I fully understand someone in a position such as a representative, governor, commissioner, etc. should be held to a specific affiliation because they are making decisions for you. The Sheriff is not one of those positions. As it was mentioned already I find it hard to believe a Sheriff would let party line affect safety. The comment on immigration would go back to if it is illegal something should be done. Law enforcement by definition is to identify criminal activity, report it, and try to justly identify the person(s) responsible. The court is who is either hard or soft on criminals and the Superior court Judges are not held to a partisanship

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/28/12 - 03:26 pm
1
1
That's EXACTLY what I

That's EXACTLY what I thought!

HankPym
14
Points
HankPym 07/28/12 - 03:34 pm
2
1
No dog

I do not live in Richmond County and do not have a dog in the hunt. I also do not know the inner workings of their agency. I only count on places like AC to obtain the information and give it to us. One thing I will say though is Mr. Peeples appears to be to local politics what the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. was to racing. You either loved him or you hated him but everyone was talking about him.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 07/28/12 - 03:35 pm
2
1
Facebook

Not having facebook would be a quality to me....many are sick of the DRAMA that place causes....innocent remarks ---geez.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 07/28/12 - 03:48 pm
2
0
High

You don't have to be in the center of a storm to know there is one going on.....I'm in touch more than you know!!
heh heh

rebellious
21419
Points
rebellious 07/28/12 - 04:31 pm
2
0
Hmmmm

I will practice restraint and be cordial without sarcasm. HS says Silas is not Supervisor material. Newsflash, that is what he has been doing for years as Leiutenant of the Northern precinct which is half of the uniformed deputies on watch (at night). I apologize for that sarcastic newsflash thing, I can't help it.
I agree the partisanship of the Sheriff's election is a non-issue and many Democrats are as conservative as Goldwater was. The fact is a Republican tag makes you virtually unelectable in Richmond County. For that reason, we have conservative Democrats running for office. If you don't believe me, just watch the Barrow vs whoever results for our county.
Lastly, On the Sheriff's race, those who back Peebles have pounded the drum long and hard that if Peebles is not elected, the end of civility as we know it will begin, overdramatizing the differences and conjuring up images of a criminal Armageddon. I truly believe that we would be perfectly fine if Silas, Peebles or Sanders slides behind the wheel. What does concern me are some of the revelations from the "Drama night". The suggestions must have an element of truth as I have heard no reports of lawsuit for libel or slander. Now I know that these indiscretions took place in and around 401 Walton Way. I think that if a certain candidate is elected, these shenanigans will continue and most likely escalate. Silas, meanwhile, is out there doing his job. Just my thoughts. Hope I was behaved.

Thigpen
28
Points
Thigpen 07/28/12 - 04:38 pm
1
1
The furthest thing from soft

My family and I proudly support Judge Overstreet and we urge that everyone else to do so as well.

Judge Saunders is an honorable man, yet he has some personal financial problems that I believe he needs to focus on first. Judge Overstreet is the right choice for Superior Court Judge.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/28/12 - 06:04 pm
0
0
No JAnderson1945 you are

No JAnderson1945 you are incorrect. Sanders does have a Facebook page. And the employees of RCSO who are following the directive of the department (which told them NOT to show public support for ANY candidate) are the ones who are NOT making their profile picture that of any candidate. So therein that is not a correct nor absolute reflection of who the individual RCSO employee chooses.

Little Lamb
48009
Points
Little Lamb 07/28/12 - 06:19 pm
0
0
Partisan Elections

Avidreader asked

Why does a sheriff have to be a democrat OR a republican?

This hearkens back to the post-Reconstruction days as white Georgians were wresting their government back from the Carpetbaggers. The Republican carpetbaggers left such a bitter taste in the Georgians' mouths that white Democrat control was virtually written into the Georgia Constitution by requiring all state constitutional offices to have partisan elections. Democrat control was maintained until the 21st century. It will take a Constitutional Amendment to make county sheriff races non-partisan.

Don't forget that Augusta's recent consolidated government was set up to be non-partisan by a gentleman's agreement between Charles Walker and Dandy Don Grantham.

HankPym
14
Points
HankPym 07/28/12 - 06:27 pm
0
1
Defamation

Are you so sure that no one has met with an attorney of the drama night? I missed it but was told it was rather "lively". I was also told of at least two people speaking of law suits. The information I was given was that the individuals did not want the actions of the few to effect Mr. Silas. That seems pretty honorable in my opinion (if it is true).

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