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Cline backs out of commission race

Posted: February 24, 2012 - 11:21am  |  Updated: February 24, 2012 - 11:25am

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Martinez resident Damon Cline announced Friday his withdrawal as a candidate for the Columbia County District 2 Commission seat.

Cline said in a press release that the recent state approval of a redistricting map moving his Petersburg Station home out of District 2 prompted his decision to pull out of the race.

All voting maps are redrawn every 10 years to reflect the latest Census numbers. Columbia County’s district maps received local approval last fall.

State lawmakers adopted the redistricted map Thursday, but it still must win approval from Gov. Nathan Deal and the U.S. Justice Department.

“While there is a slight chance a delay in the process could allow me to qualify and enter the race, I believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of the county to step aside and let a resident of the future District 2 challenge the incumbent,” Cline said.

Should the new maps win all the needed approvals, Cline’s home would shift to District 1. Represented by Ron Thigpen, that seat won’t be up for election until 2014.

Cline has said that he intends to run for the District 1 seat when it comes up for election.

Current voting precincts are being used for the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary, but the county Board of Elections office is working on setting up precincts for the July 31 party primaries based on the assumption that the new districts will be approved long before then.

After that approval, the county’s about 85,000 registered voters will receive new voter registration cards with updated voting district information.

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