After a week heavy with advance voting, Tuesday's General Election runoff seems almost anti-climactic.
For those who haven't yet voted, it's anything but. In fact, the votes that are counted Tuesday evening could have a lasting effect on the future of our community - for good, or for ill.
There are three races on the ballot in Columbia County: A state runoff for the Public Service Commission, a three-county race for Superior Court judge, and a county-wide race for school board chairman.
We don't offer recommendations in state races. But in the two local races, we highly recommend the election of David Roper as Superior Court judge, and Regina Buccafusco as school board chairman.
• As we noted in our original endorsement of David Roper on Nov. 5, all four of the candidates in the General Election were worthy of the position, each of them bringing different talents and experience to the race.
Roper, the top vote-getter, now is running one-on-one with Bill Williams, who of the four original candidates had the strongest legal pedigree. But Roper brings to the bench an almost overwhelming variety of both legal and human experience that make him enormously qualified to serve as judge.
Here's what we said about Roper on Nov. 5: "David Roper is a student of the law; he also is a remarkable human being. He has devoted much of his adult life not just to legal practice, but to service to his fellow man through Rotary International and charitable and civic pursuits.
"Understandably, some of the candidates and their supporters downplay such experience. But that mix of experience has given Roper a background and demeanor to prepare him not only for the entry level position in domestic relations court - where human judgement is paramount - but to enable him to handle the variety of legal cases over which all superior court judges eventually preside."
For voters who have not yet cast a ballot, we enthusiastically recommend that they do so Tuesday for David Roper.
• In our Oct. 29 endorsement for the county-wide School Board chairmanship, we recommended the election of newcomer Lawrence Hammond. Hammond did not survive the three-way race, leaving Regina Buccafusco and Lee Muns to settle the election in a runoff.
As we noted after the votes were counted, of the two remaining candidates, the far better choice is Regina Buccafusco.
Buccafusco rose to her position as a school board member eight years ago after long service as a parent volunteer in the school system, and with extensive professional work in education.
She came to her school board service honestly - not on a political stepping-stone, but purely because of her belief in the public school system and her desire to see Columbia County excel. We've disagreed with her on occasion, but there is no doubting her sincerity and intelligence. She knows the school system, and her only ambition is its success.
Buccafusco isn't a politician. But she is a very good member of a deliberative, policy-making body that handles the county's largest single budget and cares for nearly 22,000 of its children. She has served before as the board's chairman, and has the experience to lead the board through a smooth transition to a new school superintendent.
Her opponent served a single, divisive, politically charged term on the school board, and since then has endeared himself to the disgruntled and disaffected, attracting axe-grinding supporters who are tone-deaf to his counterproductive history on the board.
It's interesting, too, that Muns touts several high-profile endorsements - all from people who live outside Columbia County.
Make no mistake: While Columbia County is big enough to survive a victory by Lee Muns, the students, parents and professional educators in one of Georgia's best school systems shouldn't be forced to endure it.
The contrast couldn't be stronger. Of the two candidates remaining, Regina Buccafusco is by far the best choice to serve as the new chairman of the Columbia County School Board.
A reminder: Even if you did not vote in the Nov. 7 General Election, if you were qualified to do so you may vote in the runoff.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.