Just one election late

Did Peebles campaign fall short without extra dose of Strength?

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No one will ever know whether it would’ve made the difference.

But Ronnie Strength now knows he could’ve done more.

The retiring Richmond County sheriff knew in his heart that his Capt. Scott Peebles was far and away the best qualified candidate to replace him. But because Strength’s brother-in-law, Robbie Silas, was also in the race, Strength didn’t endorse Peebles until recently – until after Silas was eliminated in the July 31 primary.

Again, we’ll never know – but that decision may have cost Peebles the race, and cost Richmond County the chance to make him sheriff.

You see, Peebles was just a few percentage points away from winning the Democratic nomination outright July 31. And it’s almost certain the Democrat will win in November.

An earlier endorsement from Strength might have put Peebles over the top, and avoided the need for the runoff.

So, we wondered: As he watched Tuesday night as Peebles lost the runoff election to Richard Roundtree, did Sheriff Strength have a sinking feeling?

“Sure I did,” he told us. “Absolutely I did.”

But that doesn’t mean he regrets his decision to sit the primary out. The sheriff is sticking to his guns.

“No,” he said of any regret. “I made a decision early on and stuck with (it). I’m going to have to live with that.”

So, apparently, is Augusta.

To be fair to the sheriff, he blames Peebles’ loss on voter complacency and lack of turnout. Indeed, Peebles received some 600 fewer votes in the Tuesday runoff than he got in the July 31 primary, while Roundtree increased his vote total by some 2,000 votes.

Peebles lost to Roundtree Tuesday by less than 500 votes.

What is with people, that they can’t lift a finger to engage in the most basic and easiest act of citizenship – a right others have died to protect?

In addition, Strength said he’s also heard that some of the vote Tuesday was a backlash against the local opinion media, which was squarely behind Peebles.

Of course, there’s a good reason for that backing. Peebles was unquestionably the better candidate, as both Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Sheriff Strength attested to before the runoff.

Just one election late.

Peebles graciously called
for rallying behind the next sheriff.

“Let’s have a positive attitude and do what’s best for this city and get behind whoever wins this election,” Peebles said.

He’s absolutely right. Everyone in this community should stand ready to help the next sheriff continue the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office’s sterling service to this county.

We don’t need any more second-guessing after this week.

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specsta
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specsta 08/23/12 - 01:00 am
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Good Times - For Everybody Else

Poor Chronicle Editorial Staff - it's been a tough few weeks, huh? You guys didn't get the name you wanted for the new university and now your Sheriff's candidate endorsement failed. Must be a lot of handkerchiefs being passed around.

It's a little scary that Augusta might be moving in a direction that hasn't been approved by the power brokers at 725 Broad. Hmmm...maybe that direction is called PROGRESS.

jack234
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jack234 08/23/12 - 02:45 am
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Why would the editorial staff

Why would the editorial staff come up with a "what if" story when a better story would have been to congratulate the new sheriff and move forward. One thing about the South, it loves to live in the past and a lot of "what if's" . Time to move on.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 04:16 am
10
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Responsibillty for Peebles' Loss

One of the main reasons some Peebles' voters stayed home is the ugly, nonsensical attacks on Strength and his wife by the radio guy and the CHRONICLE that continues with this editorial. That was totally out of line and turned off many voters more than anything else.

Take the responsibility yourself instead of blaming it on the retiring Sheriff. Some said he could have strong armed the other candidates into not running. Really? This is 2012 with the internet and illegal coercion is just that. People legally qualified to run have the right. If you want to look at trickery and question those in the race, you should examine John Ivey closely.

This was the PRIMARY YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. How in the world can you expect Sheriff Strength to endorse anyone when he has three excellent people from the RCSO running for the Democratic nomination and someone he respects tremendously running for the Republican nomination?

Peebles’ campaign made glaring mistakes with the Waynesboro “endorsement,” passing out fried chicken for votes, the contribution from Joe Jackson and kowtowing at the NAACP forum. Plus the connections of Peebles-Nicholson-Blanchard were gradually surfacing as the campaign went on. Blanchard was even rumored to be in line for a ranking job with the RCSO.

That's why enough of Peebles' previous voters stayed home. It’s nauseating to continue the theme that Ronnie Strength caused it when the reason is in the mirror.

Lastly, Chief Freddie Sanders does most certainly have a chance even though you are at the point of convincing voters not to even go to the polls because you feel it's hopeless.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 08/23/12 - 04:56 am
8
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The REAL truth is just what RM said!!

One of the main reasons some Peebles' voters stayed home is the ugly, nonsensical attacks on Strength and his wife by the radio guy and the CHRONICLE that continues with this editorial. That was totally out of line and turned off many voters more than anything else.

This constant garbage of blaming Sheiff Strength is over the top......why not just tell all to stay at home in November-----DUH DUH
Your CONSTANT adoration of SP turned off MANY voters.....we told you to be fair & it just didn't happen...
We are very truthful on here....so look in the mirror big boys.......& stop loading on Strength....
BTW....Rtree was very clever...he didn't depend on the media (AC) he knew that wasn't coming---no he sent vans to pick up older voters & any who needed transportation to the polls...BINGO---voters plus constant GET OUT THE VOTE won this thing for him.....

Now go out on Broad St & find another horse to whip....why doncha!

soapy_725
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soapy_725 08/23/12 - 06:22 am
0
1
Or double the rates
Unpublished

for reading the news. Thanks AC for a 70% increase and a Sunday printed that I do not need and the dead trees and loss of oxygen.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/23/12 - 06:38 am
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If only, if only, if only ...

If it is true that EVERYONE in the community KNEW Sheriff Strength was supporting Peebles (like so many in the local media have said ad nauseum) whether or not the Sheriff came out with his endorsement, nor at what point in the election, should not have made a difference!

Congratulations on your impending retirement Sheriff Strength. You been an excellenf Sheriff. I know you sleep well at night :)

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 07:24 am
3
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Those photos of the stunned

Those photos of the stunned Peebles supporters and him were kind of funny. Deer in the headlights. Steve Crawford said the guy asked him how that could be when he told him the vote count. They didn't believe it. Some people are out BIG MONEY. Lots of fried chicken and free booze parties.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 07:32 am
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I endorse good personal hygiene and Christmas, too...

...so I guess that will explain why so many of you will be sitting alone, in the dark, and smelly on Dec 25th.

I cannot speak for the Chronicle, but apparently I need to clarify my stand on this thing for a few in the Peanut Gallery. A passive endorsement doesn't mean much more than a warm bucket of spit. When I criticize Strength for not taking a stand, it is the kind of "stand" that Sheriff Webster took for him upon his retirement. He salted the field. He put the word out loud and clear that there was to be ONE guy running, and he would "protect" that guy (Strength) with all his behind the scenes power and politicking.

Strength always told Peebles that would be done for him. At the last minute, it was not. Peebles prepared for several years to run in that Dem primary THINKING Strength would run interference for him...he did not.

By the way...this is not opinion, it is FACT. If I were wrong, the Sheriff would be calling me out publicly as a liar. He is not. Peebles would also call me out on this if it were not true. He won't. Freddie Sanders would be on my case if it was a lie. He isn't.

So this is not just about passive support...it is about Strength providing the same massive effort to get Peebles elected that Webster did for him.

It was long promised...it was not delivered.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 07:39 am
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Austin said, "When I

Austin said, "When I criticize Strength for not taking a stand, it is the kind of "stand" that Sheriff Webster took for him upon his retirement. He salted the field. He put the word out loud and clear that there was to be ONE guy running, and he would "protect" that guy (Strength) with all his behind the scenes power and politicking. "

In the old days things like that may have flown, but not in 2012 with the internet. That borders on the illegal if it actually isn't. Coercion.

By the way, Chief Freddie Sanders has always been a serious candidate even though some said he wasn't. I have it on good authority that he was very happy with the defeat of Peebles and not only because he will now be running against Tree.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 07:45 am
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5
Right or wrong...I did not say...

...but feel free to explain oh brilliant RM...why do two VERY CONSERVATIVE white guys like Strength and Peebles participate in a Dem primary in the first place if they did not think they could control it? It has ALWAYS been this way...if this was the year for it to change, so be it, but the fact is there was an established plan...and somebody backed out.

You doubt me...ask around. NO ONE is calling me wrong on this (internet anonymous folks excluded)...NO ONE.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 07:52 am
2
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On what? That Strength was

On what? That Strength was supposed to threaten others so they would not run? There are only two people who know if that's true. Strength and Peebles. Strength says it's not. Don't listen to that Nicholson-Blanchard garbage.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 08/23/12 - 07:55 am
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Really

austin said..

You doubt me...ask around. NO ONE is calling me wrong on this (internet anonymous folks excluded)...NO ONE.

How much time do you THINK people have to devote to YOU!!

Not everyone listens to the RADIO...
Constant beating up on candidiates (Mrs) sure didn't help..GEEZ

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:11 am
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If you don't listen seenit ...

...how do you know what was said?

I spent VERY LITTLE time discussing anything about this runoff in the last three weeks...and NOTHING about the Mrs.

If I am going to get credit for affecting an election...someone must be listening...can't have it both ways.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 08/23/12 - 08:13 am
0
1
Richmond county
Unpublished

will become the mirror image of Clayton county.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:14 am
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It is well documented that WEBSTER did this...

...for Strength. Why would you doubt that it was the plan for Strength to do it for Peebles? Again I ask...how do two conservative white guys attempt to stake out a claim in an 80% black local Dem primary UNLESS there was a plan?

Sylvia Cooper backs me up on all this...as does Harley Drew. Are they lying too?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 08:18 am
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Ronnie Strength says there

Ronnie Strength says there wasn't a plan. End of story. Why don't you get off this kick and go say bad things about JB Powell or something. You also said Freddie Sanders was only in the race as a safety valve when he was actually pulling against Peebles.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:25 am
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RM...you can make up anything you want...

What I say I sign my name to...and I print and broadcast. Let the Sheriff call me out publicly, then I will go forward with email...voice mail...and text messages that prove my point. As well as the documented history previously alluded to by Sylvia and others.

Again...how do two conservative white guys stake out such a claim in the Dem party when it is usually 80% black? Does not make much sense...UNLESS they employ the Webster plan.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:28 am
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Sanders made a last minute decision to get in the race based...

...on Peebles vulnerability when Silas entered the race. Call it what you want...the safety valve is now in place.

Smart/rich guys like Sanders do not make such major decisions at the last minute unless they are forced to.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 08:30 am
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I thought you said before

I thought you said before that the Sheriff had told you that you were wrong. Then it blew up to where he won't speak to you. Look, we all know about the supposed Webster plan. But that was the old days and may not have even been legal. This is 12 years later where everything makes it to the internet. Just like you were saying maybe this is now the time when conservatives don't try to run as Democrats in Richmond County. This is a new era.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:36 am
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New era...? Maybe...

If it is a new era, so be it...but it was NOT because the Webster Plan was defeated. It is because the Webster Plan was withdrawn...Bay of Pigs style.

With Peebles in the role of the slaughtered Cuban revolutionaries.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 08:38 am
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One other thing, it's wrong

One other thing, it's wrong to imply Sanders wanted Peebles to win.

faithson
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faithson 08/23/12 - 08:39 am
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as much as I don't like to say it !

Austin has a very good point to make here. I am still 'stinging' from Scott's loss. Ronnie's lack of 'attitude' during the primaries made a difference. How much, we leave to the likes of Austin. Could Ronnie have done more, the obvious answer is YES. What is truly interesting though is how Allen lost because of Scott's run and the party jumpers.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:41 am
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Allen lost the run off...

...but McLeod was shut out in the main primary...all because of this Sheriff's race...

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:46 am
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Sanders entire entrance into this process...

...was an answer to Peebles vulnerability in the primary. What attitude he adapted AFTER he got in, is a matter of evolution. We will never know what stand he would have taken in a run against Peebles...but I know as a cosmic certainty that the reason he got INTO the race, was to make sure there was a backstop in case the Strength/Peebles team faltered in the primary.

They did...because Strength never showed up (as promised).

(with this caveat and explanation...Strength only told his main people that he was going to be personna non grata AFTER Peebles had spent years making inroads and plans to run in the Dem primary. He had to stay that course...and to his credit...it ALMOST worked)

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 08:48 am
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5
RM...the only thing the Sheriff told me I was wrong to do...

...was to mention his wife. He never disputed any of my facts...to me. just my tactics and aggressive language.

I was blasted for bad form, not incorrect information.

Telling the unabashed truth is often a lonely and unpopular business.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/23/12 - 09:12 am
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Thanks for the chuckle Karen...

Clearly...you do not understand irony and tongue -in-cheek suggestions when you hear them...but that is fine.

And here is the lady who says Charlie Webster got me fired from Channel 12 telling me to get my facts straight.

Oh, be still my heart...

Riverman1
90289
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 09:15 am
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If I wanted to discuss

If I wanted to discuss candidates in the race who shouldn't be, like I said, I'd take a hard look at Ivey. Talk about a plan.

Riverman1
90289
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 09:22 am
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Austin, why do you hate JB

Austin, why do you hate JB Powell so much?

Riverman1
90289
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Riverman1 08/23/12 - 09:24 am
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Anyway, it was a fun

Anyway, it was a fun election. Over now for the time being. Congrats to all for taking part in the process, win or lose.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/23/12 - 09:30 am
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You can just call me "SS Mafia Queen" for short :p

And remind me again, what is that reason that you loathe JB Powell so much? Could it be something a little more PERSONAL than anything having to do with the Honorable Randal Hall?

My, my, my ... I believe it could be for an entirely different reason all together.

Y'all have a great day :)

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