Though their rhetoric might have the ring of the Confederate bumper-sticker declaration, "Forget, hell!" Columbia County's Democrats are hoping for reconstruction.
The party has gone from dominant to doormat to dormant in less than a generation. No declared Democrat has won office in Columbia County since Jake Pollard was re-elected to the state Senate in 1994. It's been even longer since a member of the local government has been elected as a declared Democrat.
We have to say "declared," because there currently are Democrats serving in local governments - but they were elected without a party label in non-partisan races. Or with a Republican label because they couldn't get elected as a Democrat.
When Charles Allen and Lee Anderson take office in January, there will be five local Republican elected officials who previously served as Democrats: Anderson; Allen and his wife, Tax Commissioner Kay Allen; Probate Judge Pat Hardaway; and state Sen. Bill Jackson.
Hardaway and Mrs. Allen were part of a mass party-switch in 1995, along with Chief Magistrate David Huguenin and then-Clerk of Court Mary Reeves.
That door can swing both ways. More likely, though, will be a recruitment effort from new candidates willing to run with a "D" behind their name.
That effort begins, unofficially, Nov. 10.
That's the local party's regular monthly meeting date, just after the upcoming general election. As the election approaches, local Democrats are emboldened by what they expect to be a strong showing from Barrack Obama.
There won't be a similarly strong showing from local Democratic candidates.
There aren't any.
It's downright embarrassing: There will be nearly a dozen local Republicans elected or re-elected without having to face an opponent. Local Democrats didn't even offer token opposition in a year expected to be a high-water mark for their party.
The Democratic Party chairwoman, Rosemary Fitzpatrick, inherited the post from Scott Nichols. He was the last declared Democrat to run for office in Columbia County, losing to County Commissioner Ron Thigpen in 2006.
Sonny McDowell, chairman of the party's Candidates and Issues Committee, will speak Nov. 10 at the government complex auditorium in Evans.
"We have an overwhelming amount of people interested in becoming involved in local politics," Fitzpatrick writes in an e-mail, asserting "the tide is more conducive to our party ideas" because of economic conditions.
The meeting, she says, will identify candidates interested in seeking local office in two or four years.
Will they be successful?
That would seem to have been easier in a year in which the national Republican Party has floundered and Obamania is rampant. If the Democrats couldn't find challengers this year, when will they?
Local Republicans could certainly use the competition. Any believer in the free market knows the best products are made in a competitive environment.
Columbia County has been a one-party stronghold so long that elected officials can do pretty much anything they want and still call themselves "Republicans" - even if they sometimes have more in common with Democrats.
In fact, you might say some of them have already switched parties. They just failed to announce it.
Will the local Democrats succeed in finding candidates willing to carry their banner again?
Who knows? But if they couldn't strike when the iron was hot, it might be a cold day you-know-where before they can.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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