While it wasn’t exactly a case of the lion and the lamb canoodling, it was still a surprise Thursday when Wright McLeod threw his support to Lee Anderson in the 12th Congressional District.
It was just three weeks ago that the four-way Republican race seemed to be edging toward fisticuffs. Anderson’s campaign had sent out a mailer asserting that McLeod and Rick Allen, unlike him, had no public service experience, a claim Anderson’s camp based on several elected offices he’s held.
McLeod fired back that Anderson was disrespecting his 20 years of military service and that of everyone who’s worn a uniform. McLeod even stood across from Anderson’s headquarters on election day, holding a banner touting himself as the only veteran.
It didn’t help. Anderson took first place, followed by Allen, with McLeod just a few hundred votes back. Bringing up the rear was Maria Sheffield, who had been ignored all the way to a last-place finish.
Sheffield endorsed Anderson right after the election. Allen shot back that she did it in return for a hefty campaign contribution, and that they weren’t willing to pay her price.
Then, on Thursday, McLeod endorsed Anderson because, he said, his former opponent “subscribes to the same principle” of “service over self.” Allen’s camp, which had nasty fights with Wright before the primary, shrugged in response.
Will it change things? Who knows. Allen hasn’t gotten much mileage out of Anderson’s refusal to debate, and Anderson probably hasn’t changed any minds by attacking Allen’s conflicting statements on T-SPLOST.
The important thing is whose voters return on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Democrat John Barrow awaits, and the winning Republican is going to need all the support he can get.
One thing that might help is a “unity” celebration Thursday organized by the CSRA Republican Women’s Club, at 6 p.m. at the Jones Creek Clubhouse. For reservations: (706) 830-5730.
Considering there are no fewer than four Republican or quasi-Republican organizations operating in Columbia County, “unity” might start with them all playing on the same team – something they’ve rarely been able to do for long.
(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/