After three weeks of advance voting, the election Tuesday seems almost anti-climactic. But most people haven’t yet voted, and many haven’t decided between candidates. Here are our suggestions for contested races voters will find on Columbia County ballots.
We urge all voters to choose a Republican ballot. It’s the only way to vote on all available contested races.
The good news for voters is that all three candidates would be an asset. The bad news is that only one can win. We recommend the judge who already is serving Columbia County: Jason Troiano.
Troiano serves as associate magistrate under Bobby Christine, and is holding down the fort while Christine is deployed with the National Guard. Previously, Troiano also served under Probate Judge Pat Hardaway. It’s hard to imagine more solid recommendations from better jurists.
County Commission District 2
This is a race only in technical terms: Commissioner Trey Allen does have an opponent listed on the ballot. Voters in District 2 would be wiser to vote “none of the above” than to select that name, however.
Fortunately, Allen is an even wiser choice. He’s a dedicated commissioner who does his homework and stays informed on his constituents’ behalf. He doesn’t generate pointless drama, but other commissioners know he’ll hash out issues before settling on a decision – and they respect his judgment, even when they disagree.
County Commission District 3
Charles Allen, propelled to office in part by an anti-establishment faction, must have been a huge disappointment to them. With the exception of one showy dissenting vote in the past three years, he’s gone along and gotten along just fine.
While his early backers have plenty of reasons to be disillusioned, we don’t have much to complain about with Allen’s service. He’s not an innovator, but he’s been reliable.
His opponent, Butch Holley, would make a fine commissioner, and likely could be the maverick that some of Allen’s backers seem to imagine they want. Instead, Ol’ Faithful probably will get four more years to occupy a seat in the commission chambers.
School Board District 1
Wayne Bridges has been an exemplary trustee. He’ll be hard to replace.
Harder to replace will be Superintendent Charles Nagle, who just announced his retirement. That means the winners of the school board elections will have far-reaching effects on the future of our public schools.
Carolyn Chase and David Dekle have the edge in District 1. Voters can choose only one, however, and of the two we recommend Dekle. He’s a strong, solid community leader, and will be an asset as a trustee.
School Board District 4
While we certainly hope Deborah Fisher will continue to seek public service, she’s picked the wrong battle.
Roxanne Whitaker, without question, is the most dedicated, involved member of the Board of Education, taking a deep personal interest in her district’s schools. Her institutional knowledge also will be vital in the selection of the next superintendent. We highly recommend her re-election.
Georgia House District 121
Barry Fleming admits he made a mistake, letting his ambition get the better of him when he left a leadership post in the state House to run for Congress. The sting of that loss has humbled him, and Columbia County’s diminished status in the Legislature since then has made him realize there was more at stake than just his office.
He’ll be a better lawmaker for the experience, and our community will gain in stature by his election. His opponent, Mike Popplewell, is one of the area’s finer citizens; it truly is a shame that both men can’t serve.
In a previous editorial, we urged rejection of the TSPLOST amendment and approval of the Sunday package alcohol sales referendum.
We hope readers find these suggestions helpful, and that everyone takes the time to vote on Tuesday.