Originally created 08/31/02

Woman joins mayor's race on final day



In two last-minute moves by mayoral candidates, one unexpected name will appear on ballots this November and one announced candidate has withdrawn from the running, leaving voters with a field of four men and one woman to choose from in this year's race.

Former Augusta Coliseum Authority member Bonnie Ruben, whose candidacy has been widely speculated about but never confirmed, filed with the Richmond County Board of Elections before the office closed to candidates at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying for the seat opened at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Brian Green, a consultant and political activist who has said for months he planned on running for mayor, backed out of the campaign. He has twice run unsuccessfully for a seat on the Augusta Commission.

Neither Mr. Green nor Ms. Ruben immediately returned phone calls Friday.

Ms. Ruben's unexpected candidacy follows her recent removal from the Coliseum Authority. Commissioner Lee Beard, who appointed her to the board, said she was ineligible to serve because her term expired in 1998.

Ms. Ruben publicly denounced Mr. Beard for her removal, saying he buckled under political pressure that resulted from her role in the firing of civic center General Manager Reggie Williams.

She is the owner of two Broad Street businesses: Ruben's Department Store and the Ramada Inn Plaza.

Despite Mr. Green's departure, Ms. Ruben has joined an already-crowded field of candidates seeking to unseat Bob Young, a former television news anchorman, who has been mayor since January 1999.

Other candidates who qualified for the seat are:

  • Ed McIntyre, who served as mayor of Augusta from 1982 to 1984. He served two terms on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for the state Senate's District 22 seat in 1988.
  • Bobby Ross, a political newcomer and the owner of the Green Thumb Garden Center, on Central Avenue.
  • Robin Williams, a health care consultant and member of the state House of Representatives from 1991 until he was defeated by Rep. Sue Burmeister in 2000.
  • Mayoral candidates will be on the general election ballot Nov. 5.

    Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.