|State Sen. Hardie Davis Jr.|
By The Outsider
We first told you back in a February 18th CityStink.net article, that State Sen. Hardie Davis Jr is extremely unhappy with state Republican efforts to tinker with the Richmond County legislative delegation to render Davis practically irrelevant in regards to local legislation by moving a sliver of Columbia County Republican Bill Jackson's district into Richmond County. This would mean that 2 Republican state senators would represent heavily Democratic Richmond County with Davis being the only Democrat. That means Davis could easily be out voted on most any local legislation in the Senate. In a February 18th press release that sounded like a battle call to arms, Davis said he would fight the effort with every means at his disposal, including getting the US Justice Department involved.
According to a leading statewide political blog, Peach Pundit, Sen. Hardie Davis Jr switched his vote on the Charter School bill being pushed by Gov. Nathan Deal, because he could not get a "deal" from the Republican leadership to reverse efforts to tinker with Augusta local elections dates and moving another Republican Senate district into Richmond County. Davis had supposedly agreed to support the Governor's Charter School bill, but that all fell apart earlier this week when the House refused to reconsider the legislation sponsored by Augusta Republican Rep. Barbara Sims that moved all non partisan elections in Augusta from the November general election ballot to the July partisan primary ballot.
But what really piqued our interest here at City Stink, is the assertion by Peach Pundit columnist Jason Pye, that Sen. Hardie Davis Jr. has his sights set on running for Mayor of Augusta in 2014. Say what? Pye says in his March. 1 column: "While all of the details are not available, Davis is known to have ambitions to run for mayor of Augusta and wants to ensure that the city stays in minority hands. Davis is believed to have backed out because he wanted more from Gov. Deal and Republican leadership."
Pye even links to an article in CityStink.net in his column, but frankly this is the first we have heard of any inclinations that Sen. Davis might run for Mayor. In fact, we've heard no buzz locally. At first glance the notion seems absurd. Why would a State Senator want to give up his position to run for a largely ceremonial mayor's job with little governing authority?
But the more one thinks about it, it does start to make more sense. As a Democrat, Davis is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the legislature, and the effort to add a Republican Senator to the Richmond County delegation will only exacerbate that. Perhaps Davis sees the writing on the wall at the state level, and believes that he can use the bully-pulpit of the mayor's office to have a greater impact at the local level. Plus, the Mayor's job pays more than being a State Senator and the drive to The Marble Palace is much shorter than the haul up I-20 to the Gold Dome, and Davis is the pastor of an Augusta church.
But still, where is all of this buzz coming from about Sen. Davis running for Mayor? Like we said, there's been little local chatter. However, sometimes people are more open about their political inclinations up in Atlanta than they are back home.. thinking that it won't get back to the local press. Peach Pundit's Jason Pye has a strong reputation for having an ear keenly attuned to the political buzz generated in Atlanta. He has high level sources. So is this buzz coming from Atlanta instead of Augusta? If, so then maybe there's something to it.
Davis would be a formidable mayoral candidate. He has high name recognition, legislative experience, connections to Atlanta, and a large donor base. Davis got a lot of support from Augusta's ruling business establishment (known as The Cabal in some local political circles) in his campaign for the state senate, but his recent political clashes with them over redistricting and moving local elections, could set up a battle royale if he decides to run for mayor. But standing strong against The Cabal could win him brownie points among those who were once suspicious of his true allegiances. 2014 is just two short years away. We shall see what happens.***
Sen. Hardie Davis Jr. Takes Aim at The Cabal