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Local Elections Become Volatile

A column by the Editor
web posted October 25, 2010

COLUMN – The most anticipated election in recent memory is just one week away and voter anger is at an all-time high with Democrats and Republicans facing the brunt of grassroots efforts to oust long-time incumbents from the local, state, and national ranks. Edgefield County is no different with the announcement of a write-in candidate for County Council and a School Board candidate arrested and ruled not to be a voter in the county.

In a surprise move supporters of Byron Robinson, who was defeated in the Democrat primary in June, formed a committee to launch a write-in effort to oust long-time County Councilman Willie Bright. Is it too little too late? Supporters are counting on Democrats and Republicans joining together to send new blood and ideas to the county council.

Byron Robinson has stated he is not connected to the effort but will serve if elected.

The race for School Board District 1 became interesting when the Edgefield County Election Commission voted last week 7-0 to rule that candidate Nathaniel Jackson was not eligible to be a resident and candidate in the election after a challenge by Edgefield voter Charles Kemp. 

He will remain on the ballot until the appeals process has been completed.

Jackson, who was found guilty for his part of a cocaine trafficking investigation and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison, was arrested by Edgefield Police on Friday for a driving under suspension third offense. That charge carries a mandatory jail sentence of between six months and three years if convicted.

It will be interesting to see if voters in School Board District 1 want to elect a candidate that may be ejected from office, or at best, will have to serve at least three months in jail (if convicted) before ever casting a vote.

More telling is that current District 1 School Board member Mary Alice Jackson (who dropped out of the race) endorsed Nathaniel Jackson at a community meeting orchestrated by Edgefield County Councilmen Norman Dorn and Willie Bright in Bettis Academy that was also attended by School Board members Sallie Cooks, James Bibbs, and Superintendent Mary Rice-Crenshaw.

I am glad the school board elections are non-partisan.

After all, we would not want partisan politics to eek into school board races.

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