Once the knee-jerk racism that flared up after Richard Roundtree defeated Scott Peebles for sheriff dies down, there’s going to be a run — a crazymad scramble, in fact — to Republican sheriff candidate Freddie Sanders, but it won’t matter. Insiders confirm that no matter how motivated the voters, there is no path for a Republican to win the sheriff’s office of Richmond County.
If Strength’s golden boy couldn’t get enough voters to beat Roundtree as a Democrat with a strong Republican crossover, there’s no way a true Republican like Sanders is going to get enough votes to beat Roundtree.
Though it’s too soon to accurately understand the numbers behind what happened, it’s clear that Robbie Silas not only pulled votes away from Peebles in the primary, his supporters either stayed away from the polls on Tuesday or voted for Roundtree, in large part because of the firestorm created by local radio personality and Metro Spirit columnist Austin Rhodes. His constant support of Peebles, hammering of Strength and ridicule of Silas created a host of ill feelings that linger today.
While the media, both traditional and social, were swept up in the Silas/Peebles/Strength/Patty saga, Roundtree was quietly going door-to-door, working back channels and motivating his base. Insiders within the Peebles camp recognized what was happening and begged for those in the chattering class to shut up, but they were too late.
With everyone wondering about how a Roundtree election would affect Augusta, few are contemplating what’s going to happen to the sheriff’s office itself.
For one thing, Silas has some work to do. Many feel he stabbed his brother-in-law in the back when he announced his run, then twisted the blade when he refused to get out in spite of the obvious damage he was causing. That kind of thing isn’t easily forgotten, which is a problem for him because all those folks in the office who said they’d move away if Roundtree was elected sheriff — they won’t. They never do. Like all those celebrities who said they’d leave the country if Bush won the White House, they have families and mortgages and real life responsibilities.
The top brass, on the other hand — you could hardly expect Roundtree to keep them. Roundtree knows this inner circle will remain loyal to Strength and, to a lesser degree, Peebles. That’s just a fact. And it’s also a fact that a leader has to have people around him he feels comfortable with, so a bit of early housecleaning shouldn’t be viewed as the end of the world.
And here’s the thing — what if all of this isn’t the end of the world? What if Roundtree comes in on a conciliatory note and calms everyone’s fears? Because one thing is for sure — he’ll be under a microscope, and how he uses the media will be a key component to the success of his time in office.
If you paid close attention to Strength’s retirement announcement, he spoke at length about his relationship with the media. Will Roundtree treat the people who cover him with the same fairness? No one knows for sure, but he is now the big man in town.
It’s a new day for the city of Augusta. Our biggest reformation project is now underway.You Might Also Like: