Originally created 09/25/01

Remap plans propose split of Richmond County votes



Richmond County would have been split between two congressional districts in plans being considered before the General Assembly's redistricting talks broke down last Friday.

Each plan would have anchored a new, Democrat-friendly east Georgia district with voters from Augusta. But large portions of Richmond County, particularly Augusta's suburbs, would have remained in Republican Rep. Charlie Norwood's northeast Georgia district.

It remained uncertain, though, just how far the new district would stretch.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker, D-Augusta, pushed hard for the district to include Athens, where voters tend to heavily favor Democrats. Mr. Walker's son, Charles Walker Jr., has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat.

Augusta Rep. Ben Allen, a Democrat, also is considering a congressional bid in the new district. He drew a similar seat for himself in a plan that passed earlier in the state House.

Under the most recent plans, the new district would take in downtown Augusta and stretch to downtown Savannah. Under one proposal, it would stop short of Athens, while another plan would include the university town.

Supporters say the district would create a strong higher-education base - including University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.