There is little likelihood that Moses McCauleys challenge to Steve Smiths candidacy for Richmond County marshal will knock Smith out of the running. But if it did, it wouldnt be the first time Smith lost an election on a technicality.
Smiths first foray into politics came here in Co-lumbia County, when he decided to run for sheriff against Clay Whittle in 1996. Whittle had won a special election in 1995 to succeed Otis Hensley, who died of liver cancer Oct. 18, 1994.
After completing Hensleys unexpired term, Whittle qualified to run as a Republican for the 1996 election. Smith signed up an independent, which meant he had a month to get nearly 2,000 signatures to get his name on the General Election ballot.
Smith delivered the signatures to Columbia Countys elections office shortly before 5 p.m. July 9, 1996, the deadline then-Elections Director Rudy Olsen had given him.
The problem? State law set the deadline at noon, so Smiths signatures were more than four hours late. Olsen disqualified him from the election, and Smith took it to court. Judge Carlisle Overstreet later ruled that state law superseded Olsens error, so Smith was out of the running and Whittle ran unopposed in 1996.
Locked out of the race for sheriff, Smith moved to Richmond County and continued serving as marshal - overseeing Municipal Build-ing security, serving papers from Magistrates Court and enforcing litter laws. What once was an appointed office became an elected position thanks to former state Rep. Robin Williams, who may have saved Smiths job by making it an elected office and protecting Smith as the incumbent.
The first election for the post comes up in November, and Smith faces McCauley and John Gray. McCauley is now contending that Smith should be disqualified for failing to take a leave of absence to run for the office. Augusta officials deny the step is necessary, so its unlikely Smith will be taken off the ballot.
Williams long shadow pops up in another race this year, too: George James, his cousin, is running for City Council in Grovetown. James failed to unseat Mayor Dennis Trudeau in 1999, and is running against Bruce Stoddard and the mayors close ally, Rosa Lee Owens, for two open Council seats.
Owens, who ran strong in Grovetown precincts in a losing race for School Board, is a shoo-in for the local seat. That means Stoddard and James will duke it out for the other post. Trudeau says hes staying neutral.
McKinney for breakfast
I was pleased to speak to the mens breakfast fellowship at Sharon Baptist Church on Sunday. Gary Blanchard, a Navy veteran, was just one of the many men disgusted at traitorous U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKin-ney, who fawned over a Saudi prince while begging for his royal oil money.
Jon Tanner accurately labels McKinney in his cartoon today. Some also are rightly calling her Jihad Cindy, echoing the despicable line of succession from Tokyo Rose to Hanoi Jane.
Theres not much I could add to the condemnation the America-hating McKinney is deservedly getting, but one line in McKinneys drooling letter to her Saudi suitor has been overlooked by commentators: She writes, Your Royal Highness, the state of black America is not good.
With the careful choice of those words, McKinney is attempting to position herself as qualified to deliver a State of the Union-style message on behalf of Afri-can-Americans.
The message of black America for decades has been self-determination and dignity. Thus, it is disconcerting that McKinney in one breath portrays herself as attuned to that struggle, and then so shamelessly grovels to a privileged member of the ruling family of an authoritarian country - like a servant ingratiating herself to a massah in hopes of receiving a few coins.
Besides: Doesnt McKinney realize hundreds of the Sept. 11 terror victims are black? Its too bad she doesnt expend more effort worrying about the state of their families instead of begging from a terrorist sympathizer.
(Barry L. Paschal is opinions editor of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barrypaschal@ yahoo.com.)
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