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Opinion

Editor reviews County Council Primary Elections


A Column by the Editor
web posted June 7, 2010
COLUMN – With just one day to go before the primary elections take place, county council candidates are squaring off in three hotly contested races. Albert Talbert is challenging District 1 County Councilman Norman Dorn and newcomer Byron Robinson is making his bid to unseat District 4 County Councilman Willie Bright in the Democrat Primary. Scott Mims will attempt to unseat District 2 County Councilman Rodney Ashcraft in the Republican Primary.

Democrat Frank Nicholson and Republican Dean Campbell will face off in the November General Election, as neither has a challenger in the primary. Merriwether District 5 County Councilwoman Genia Blackwell is unopposed and will return to serve her second term next year.

In the District 1 race 20-year incumbent Norman Dorn will face an uphill battle in retaining his seat over Albert Talbert. Talbert fell short last year by just 57 votes in the Democrat Primary. Unable to campaign in 2008 due to the illness and subsequent death of his wife, Talbert has been knocking on doors this election cycle. He is also getting support from Republicans in the district who have stated they plan to jump over to support him since there is no Republican candidate in the race.

In 2008 almost 500 Republicans voted in the Republican Primary. If only 10% jump across party lines and Talbert retains his voting base, or gains additional Democrat support, it could spell almost certain defeat for Dorn.

But don’t count Dorn out, he campaigns 365 days a year.

Scott Mims also faces high hurdles trying to unseat Rodney Ashcraft for the District 2 county council seat in the Republican Primary. Ashcraft won a landslide victory over three term incumbent Everett Kitchens taking 76% of the vote in 2008. Though Mims is more popular in the Edgefield area than Kitchens, overcoming such wide support for Ashcraft just sixteen months later will not be easy. Ashcraft also has wide support in the Merriwether and Mt. Vintage areas, Republican strongholds with regular high voter turnout.    

Newcomer Byron Robinson has made the County Council District 4 race interesting in his bid to replace 20-year incumbent Willie Bright in the Democrat Primary. Robinson has been well received in the district, which stretches from the south side of Edgefield, capturing half of Trenton south to the Merriwether area. Early into the campaign Robinson was able to capture large segments of the political block support Bright once took for granted. Though Bright initially discounted Robinson as an “unknown” early in the campaign, he has taken the race more serious as Robinson continued to gain support.

Pockets of Republicans have also joined the ranks of Robinson supporters and, just as in District 1, say they plan to skip the Republican Primary and vote in the Democrat Primary.

Whether or not Republicans will skip their primary in a year that sees a broad spectrum of important elections such as Governor, Lt. Governor, Congress, and state positions remains to be seen. Regardless, the Democrat voters share the anti-establishment sentiment that is widespread in the Republican circles in this election cycle.

That will not bode well for Dorn and Bright; both deeply entrenched in their positions held for the past 20 years. Ashcraft enjoys the advantage as being seen as a new voice on the county council since he and District 5 councilwoman Blackwell were elected in 2008 over six and eight year incumbents.

Voter turnout will be a key factor in all races. And, as the old adage goes, “anything can happen in an election”.

Edgefield Daily will again be the only local media outlet in the CSRA to provide live updates of the vote count as it becomes available Tuesday night.







For all past articles please visit our Archives

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Parting Shots
A book by Columnist Carl Langley

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