Thursday, January 26, 2012

Showdown Emerging to Replace Bowles

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012
Augusta, GA
The Outsider

Well it looks like the race for the Dist. 3 Augusta Commission seat being vacated by term-limited Joe Bowles just got a lot more interesting. As we told you on Sunday, Mary Fair Davis was the first candidate to announce her intentions to run. She was scheduled to make a formal announcement yesterday at Enterprise Mill. She served as Mayor Deke Copenhaver's  chairperson for his 2006 mayoral campaign. Clay Boardman is heading her campaign.

Yesterday, it was announced that prominent Augusta attorney Ed Enoch will also seek the Dist. 3 seat. The reaction to this news was that of complete surprise with "wow!" being a common refrain among posters in Augusta Today and The Augusta Chronicle. In what appeared at first to be a cakewalk for Mary Fair Davis is now shaping up to be a real showdown between two powerful Augusta political factions. As soon as the news broke, people such as radio talker Austin Rhodes were already disparaging Ed Enoch's candidacy. Without giving specifics, Rhodes simply said "Do your homework on Enoch" on the Augusta Today Facebook group. RC Republican Party Chairman Dave Barbee also chimed in insinuating that he also opposed Enoch's candidacy.

That may have something to do with Enoch's connections to the Democratic Party. He is the campaign chairman for Democratic State Senator Hardie Davis, Jr. However, it is worth noting that many local Republicans supported Davis as well, even helping to pay off his campaign debt. Augusta commission races are non-partisan but it is usually known among political circles where various candidate's political loyalties lie.

Ed Enoch is the attorney who represents The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority. Austin Rhodes hinted that  his relationship with the Coliseum Authority deserves closer scrutiny, but gave no specifics.

Enoch also represented Woodlawn Methodist church in their contentious battle with members of the Summerville Neighborhood Association over opening a daycare in one of their church buildings. Current District 3 Commissioner Joe Bowles was a vocal opponent of the  daycare, as he lived across the street from it. Ultimately, the courts sided with Woodlawn Church and Enoch and the daycare opened. So far Bowles has not made an endorsement in the race.

It will be interesting to see where people line up. We already know who Clay Boardman is backing and it's a good bet that Mayor Copenhaver will also be backing Mary Fair Davis. That leaves many people concerned about her candidacy and whether she would just be a rubber stamp for Deke's agenda, such as a downtown ballpark. So far Davis has not made her positions known on issues such as the ballpark and neither has Enoch. As soon as we learn their positions on key issues we will bring you the news here.

Both candidates will be able to raise big money to run strong campaigns. Mary Fair Davis has Boardman bucks backing her and likely the Mayor's campaign donor list at her disposal. But Enoch will also find a large base of support from being the campaign chairman for Sen. Hardie Davis Jr and a large donor list of his own to pick from. And Enoch may find some unlikely allies who are more interested in thwarting Deke's agenda (code for ballpark) then in actually supporting him directly. This is shaping up to be an exciting race after all. Stay tuned.***

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Dekebot Being Charged Up to Replace Bowles

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