Among friends, prior to Tuesday’s election, I had been predicting Lee Anderson and Wright McLeod would be in a runoff for the 12th District congressional seat.
We still aren’t 100 percent sure, but it appears instead front-running Anderson will take on second-place Rick Allen in the Aug. 21 Republican runoff.
That’s barely two weeks away, which means we’ll be inundated with political messages crammed into a short time-span, with the intention of getting voters back to the polls and attracting some of the nearly 75 percent who stayed home.
Considering Columbia County’s pivotal importance in the race – because the sheriff’s race in Richmond County pulled away so many crossover Republicans – it’s fitting that the final two contenders are Columbia County natives.
Not only that, both Anderson and Allen grew up on dairy farms: Anderson near Appling, and Allen in Evans.
Anderson stayed on the farm and has been quite successful there and in elected office. Allen moved to the big city (well, Augusta) and has been very successful in the construction business.
Anderson is a Baptist. Allen is a Methodist. The only difference, some joke, is that a Methodist will speak to you in the liquor store.
They’ll both be able to do that on Sept. 2, the first day of Sunday package alcohol sales in the unincorporated area of Columbia County and the city of Harlem.
That will be less than two weeks after the runoff. One could be drowning sorrows, the other toasting victory – and, perhaps, steeling nerves for the much-tougher fight in November against Democrat John Barrow.
Meanwhile, Columbia County District 1 voters still have to settle the school board race between David Dekle and Carolyn Chase.
Dekle finished out front with nearly 45 percent of the vote, while Chase followed with 36 percent.
Their challenge will be to get their voters to return in two weeks, though it helps to have the 12th District race on the ticket.
And the winner is...
Some guesses were close. Many weren’t.
But in the end there can only be one winner, because this ain’t “Everybody Gets a Trophy Day.”
For my impromptu election contest, I asked readers to guess the win/loss percentage on TSPLOST and Sunday package alcohol sales in Columbia County, and to guess the total turnout for a tie-breaker.
Clay Hall of Grovetown won, guessing one percentage point closer to the final outcome than Rick LePine. Both guessed four points low on the 58 percent loss for TSPLOST in Columbia County, but Hall was one point closer to the 63 percent win for Sunday sales.
Hall wins bragging rights, along with the first Pigskin Picks T-shirt for this season. Thanks to all who played.
Too bad the losing percentage on TSPLOST didn’t hold up in the district.
We didn’t need the tie-breaker, but the closest guess goes to Carrie Hodge, whose 27 percent almost hit the turnout of 26.13 percent.
Do you realize that means nearly three-quarters of the county’s registered voters didn’t vote? Maybe we should have offered them a chance to win a T-shirt.
Shiny new record
Congratulations to perennial candidate Lee Benedict on hitting the high-water mark this past week in his fourth attempt at public office. His 31.77 percent showing is his best ever!
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/