A disgrace of a race

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An utter disgrace.

There's simply no more accurate way to describe the Augusta Commission race in Super District 10.

Through all the cheap shots and the dirtiest politics you could imagine, at least the right man won -- incumbent Don Grantham.

As for his opponent, John Butler -- well, the underhanded potshots being thrown from his camp boomeranged back on him. He couldn't win on the issues, and Butler's people knew it -- so they stooped to conquer.

It started on Butler's very first day of campaigning. On the day he announced his candidacy, he tried to unfairly heap the various failings of Augusta's consolidated government solely at the feet of Grantham, one of its many, many architects in the 1990s -- as if Grantham somehow was the sole guiding force behind it all. Casting him in such a light is fundamentally dishonest.

Then later in the campaign, photos began circulating around town purporting to show Grantham on a golf course with women in various stages of undress.

And how did this dirty trick resonate with voters? They didn't buy it for one second. They saw it precisely for what it was -- a concocted red herring and a below-the-belt shot at the stronger candidate.

The distortions from the Butler side even spilled over onto another sitting commissioner, Joe Bowles. Butler kept asserting that Bowles was "my good friend" when he is absolutely anything but.

But the mudslinging aimed specifically at Grantham is what's most sickening. No politician should have to run for office through a gauntlet of baseless personal attacks. That Grantham rose above such vile tactics says a great deal about his sterling character.

Regardless of whether these smears were at the hands of Butler's campaign, his supporters or even Butler himself, the whole sham was completely beneath contempt.

Butler should apologize fully and immediately, and the community should thank Grantham for running for elected office in the face of this garbage. It drags everybody down -- and it should never happen again.

Let this be a lesson about this loathsome brand of dirty politics: It doesn't work.

BOX COPY

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