Monday, March 5, 2012

Mega Bucks Being Pumped Into District 3 Commission Race

Monday, March 5, 2012
Augusta, GA
By The Outsider

It looks as though the District 3  commission race to replace Joe Bowles is shaping up to be one of the most expensive in Augusta's history. It was reported in Sylvia Cooper's City Ink column in this past Sunday's Augusta Chronicle,  that Mary Fair Davis has raised $32,000 as of last Friday, according to an official with the campaign. Yes, you read that right, $32,000 ... for an Augusta commission seat, and not even a super district at that. That's an incredible sum for this early in the campaign.

Mary Davis made her announcement that she would seek the District 3 seat less than six weeks ago.  And even if the election is held in July instead of November, that gives her campaign nearly five months to add to her totals. Her campaign cites "a very successful fundraiser" at the Milledge Ave. home of Dudley and Marc Guitton attended by 150 people. The campaign did not state how much money was raised at this particular fundraiser and at this point all totals are unofficial until campaign disclosure forms are filed with the state ethics commission. At that point we will be able to report who's been giving the big bucks not to just this campaign but to others as well. So right now this is only the word of The Mary fair Davis campaign, we won't know for sure what the true totals are until the first disclosures are released. For all we know, these could merely be campaign "pledges" and not actual dollars in the bank; however, the campaign certainly felt a need to get a specific number out there.

This news tells us several things. First it confirms that Mary Fair Davis is indeed the chosen candidate of The Cabal, and we are pretty confident that the names that pop up on the first campaign donation disclosure form will confirm that. But this is no surprise. We first told you back in January that Mary Fair Davis was the chairperson for Deke Copenhaver's first mayoral campaign and that her campaign chairperson is none other than Deke in-law Claye Boardman, so it's no big shock that her campaign is raising beau coup bucks.

The second thing this tells us is that The Cabal senses strong opposition from the campaign of Augusta attorney Ed Enoch, and so they are padding their war chest early. Enoch has the capacity to raise big money of his own, but $32,000 at this point is huge so he will have to scramble fast to catch up. This announcement from The Mary Davis campaign could be viewed as a warning shot at potential donors for Ed Enoch to scare them off; however, it could have the opposite effect and actually motivate people to write bigger checks to Enoch's campaign now knowing the money being pumped into the opposition's campaign.

The third thing this tells us is that The Cabal is in panic mode by  having to shell out big bucks to hang on to a commission seat that should be a lock for them. It also tells us that they sense losses in other districts. The Cabal has so far had four reliable commissioners on their team: Dist. 1 Matt Aitken, Dist. 3 Joe Bowles, Dist. 6 Joe Jackson, and Dist. 7 Jerry Brigham. Both Brigham and Bowles are term limited out at the end of this year. The Cabal could be sensing losses in Districts 1 and 7 and so they are doubling down their efforts to retain control of the District 3 seat held by Bowles. But it's quite telling that The Cabal is having to go to such great lengths to keep control of a district which should be their strong hold. District 3 encompasses a good chunk of "The Hill." Recent District 3 races only had token opposition and were not much in the way of real contests.. not the kind that would require this kind of money to win.

What this also signals is that The Cabal may be giving up on the District 1 seat currently held by Matt Aitken. They raised approximately $40,000 to put Aitken in that seat in 2009, but so far Aitken has not even decided if he will seek a second term. Lori Davis and Stanley Hawehave already announced that they will run for the seat, and a 3rd challenger, Jo' Rae Jenkins is expected to announce soon.

If Aitken bows out, that gives The Cabal little time to run someone else and raise money for an election that may just be less than five months down the road. Plus, if Cabal donors are already shelling out the big bucks just to hold on to Bowles' district, there may not be much left for a fight to retain control of District 1, especially with strong opposition from someone like Lori Davis, who has been very vocal about Aitken's voting record on the TEE Center and the budget.

The favored candidate to take the District 7 seat, former school board member Ken Echols, also does not strike us as someone who would be a puppet of The Cabal. In fact, sources tell us that Echols would be quite the opposite and would be a check on the influence of The Cabal on the commission. This all might explain why they are raising so much money to put a relatively unknown in the District 3 seat to replace Joe Bowles. The last time that happened was 2009, when they raised mega bucks to put another unknown, Matt Aitken, into the district 1 seat. And all indications are that Aitken fulfilled his purpose. His election secured approval for the TEE Center, and he usually votes the way his Cabal puppet masters instruct him. But Aitken now has a record and it isn't sitting well with many of his constituents.

But now, Mary Fair Davis is on track to raise far more than Aitken did. If The Cabal fails to retain control of the District 3 seat it would be a MAJOR UPSET, and may spell the unraveling of their dominance in controlling city-county government. The District 1 and District 3 races will be the main ones to watch this year. The Cabal is hoping that a huge money advantage will provide the insurance they need to cling on to power. We shall see about that. ***

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