Apparently the idea that Columbia County is politically important is all wet.
The Georgia Water Coalition held a forum this past Thursday at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in conjunction with Paddle Georgia. The forum drew about 200 people from 50 counties around the state.
What it didn't attract is a substantial number of gubernatorial candidates. You would think they'd jump at the chance to address an active crowd in politically astute Columbia County, where the focus was on one of the state's more important issues.
Instead, only three of the seven Democratic candidates paid a visit: David Poythress, DuBose Porter and Carl Camon. Good for them. And not a single one of the seven Republicans decided to show up.
Perhaps the best explanation for the absent candidates' reluctance to address this crowd, on this topic, is that the last time water was on the agenda, a couple of them tried to drown their election chances.
After making it clear at an Atlanta Chamber of Commerce forum that transfers of water from the Savannah River to the ever-thirsty capital wouldn't be prevented by their administrations, Republicans Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson and their staffs then spent the rest of the week mopping up after themselves.
Oddly, their rebuttal-tinged responses weren't even denials. In Atlanta, Deal said interbasin transfers are inevitable, so we should "try to minimize them." Responding afterward to criticism, he said he "will not transfer one ounce of water" from the Savannah to another region. Him personally? Of course not. But will he stop such transfers? Well, he "wouldn't support" them.
Johnson called transfers "part of the solution." In later comments intended to deny that he favors transfers, Johnson simply repeated that they should be available and limited. Good for him for consistency, but why issue a rebuttal - and criticize the media, to boot - if he's just going to repeat himself?
In any event, all three candidates who decided to show up made it clear they oppose interbasin transfers. They haven't felt the need to issue rebuttals or "clarifications" since the event, either.
The rest of them? You'll just have to chase them down to find out what they think, since they didn't find the forum important enough to visit.
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