The past week has been a political roller coaster for Lee Anderson.
First, the former School Board trustee announced his intention to run for the state House of Representatives seat being vacated by Bill Jackson. Then, after an announcement for the same post by County Commission Chairman Barry Fleming, Anderson decided instead to run for Flemings Commission seat.
For the betterment of the county, I didnt want to have two good people running for the same office, Anderson said. Andersons campaign instead will refocus on the Commission seat encompassing Grovetown and Harlem.
Unfortunately for Anderson, the roller coaster has a few more twists and turns.
The districts in Columbia County have been redrawn from five to four, so the newly created post of elected chairman will keep the Commission at five members. The remapped District 4 will take in Andersons farm.
The problem? The new district map hasnt yet taken effect - and Anderson doesnt live in Flemings current district. County Attorney Doug Batchelor is researching the issue to find out if Anderson will even be eligible to run in the special election to fulfill Flemings term, which expires in 2004; or, if only residents south of Interstate 20 - in the current district - can run for the post.
Im thinking it would be in the new district, says Columbia County Elections Director Deborah Marshall. Anderson agrees, with no small amount of finger-crossing: Thats the impression I get, he says.
State Rep. Ben Harbin disagrees. He says residents outside the boundaries of the current district arent eligible to run in the special election, which will be held the same time as the countys August primaries. The district that will be up for the special election is Barrys current district, Harbin says. I dont think Lee is in it.
To be eligible to run for the special election, Harbin contends, a candidate must have been eligible to run in November 2000, the last time an election for the seat was held.
So, whats plan C?
Special session likely
Speaking of Harbin, the Evans Republican is tired of the never-ending 2002 session of the General Assem-bly. When the Legislature convened Monday, it marked the first time in history the session has lasted into April.
Why the delay? Gov. Roy Barnes, already taking heat from two long reapportionment special sessions last year, has tried to drag out the regular session in case the maps drawn during those special sessions are thrown out by the courts.
But time is running out. So Barnes legislative leadership is reluctantly making plans for another expensive session if the maps are rejected.
We cant save enough days, Harbin says. Were going to have to go ahead and let him take the heat for calling a special session.
Free at last
It is sad to note the passing last week of Mary Hardin, 74, of Appling.
Mary was the daughter of the late Eugenia Hardin, a former News-Times columnist who died a year ago. Mary was mentally retarded, born in an era when the mentally frail were routinely institutionalized. But Mrs. Hardin insisted on taking her daughter home.
While most children fly the coop after their teen years, Mary stayed with her mother all her life. Friendly and funny, sometimes aggravating and cantankerous, Mary was blessed with long life and a loving mother who never gave up on her.
Her family says Mary, already in frail health, never really got over the loss of her devoted mother. Its comforting to know that as they meet again, it will be without the earthly infirmities - mental and physical - that imprisoned her sweet spirit.
Mary, then, is free at last.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barrypaschal@ yahoo.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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