It has been a wild election year filled with controversies like the Garden City has never seen before.
Whether it was the stunning withdrawal from the mayoral race by candidate Helen Blocker-Adams, the reversal in endorsements by The Augusta Chronicle, the change of election dates from November to May or even the highly criticized $194 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax package, voters won’t soon forget May 20, 2014.
But the results are officially in and it was an absolute stunning victory for mayoral candidate Hardie Davis.
After receiving an overwhelming huge percentage of the votes, Davis showed that he was clearly the candidate for the job.
Running on the promise that Augustans would always be proud to call him mayor, Davis handily defeated his opponents former Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason, retired businessman Charles Cummings and long-time educator Lori Myles.
As Augusta’s new mayor come Jan. 1, Davis insists that the city is ready to grow and leave behind the all-too-familiar bickering that often occurs between leaders of the county’s eight districts.
“Our city is ready to move beyond the things that divide us. Without question. And I’ve demonstrated that I know how to do that,” Davis told the Metro Spirit. “People don’t have to be afraid of Hardie Davis as the next mayor. People cannot only trust me, but they can be proud with me as the next mayor of Augusta.”
That is a big promise that all of Augusta hopes Davis will keep.
But the fact that one of his main goals in Atlanta as a state senator was that he would never embarrass his family, his community or God, Davis has a strong record of keeping his word.
Welcome Mayor Davis. We wish you all the best in the world.
Don’t let us down.
Following in a very distant second in the mayor’s race was Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason.
Many of Mason’s supporters thought he would get a stronger bump from south Augusta voters after Blocker-Adams withdrew from the race, but it didn’t happen.
And days leading up to this week’s election, it seemed that Mason was starting to smell defeat.
“If voters want to give me a chance to serve them as mayor for the next four years, I’m prepared and ready to do that,” Mason told the Metro Spirit a few days prior to the election. “If not, I will have more time with my family, especially with my grandchildren, who I really don’t have as much time as I would love to have them.
“I’m really kind of looking forward to having that time with them, if in fact Augusta, Ga. says no to Alvin Mason.”
Not exactly the kind of attitude you want to hear from a candidate a few short days prior to election day.
In the mayor’s race, following in third place was Myles and Cummings trailed the pack. Many in Augusta can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the news about Blocker-Adams owing creditors in Aiken County approximately $70,000 in debt hadn’t surfaced days before the election.
The debt was the result of a foreclosure on her home in North Augusta, a bank loan she had with her ex-husband and a car that was repossessed.
One day before the May 20 election, Blocker-Adams officially withdrew from the election stating that she needed to focus on God, those she had hurt and herself.
“This past week has been the worst in my life and as horrible and painful as it was, it showed me in the past 20 years, I have been too prideful, too independent and in denial about my personal finances,” Blocker-Adams wrote in a statement on May 19.
She admitted she had not been honest with her campaign team and that went against an important part of her own platform: “Transparency in government.”
“I will make right by every debt I have incurred, I will work to mend the trust that I have lost and rebuild the relationships that were damaged,” Blocker-Adams wrote, adding that she realized she could not continue as a candidate for mayor. “ At 3 a.m. Sunday morning I awoke, and knew that I could not be an effective mayor. Even if I stayed in the race and won or was in the runoff, they would continue to work toward running my name in the ground and I don’t want that for my family.”
It was an announcement that definitely changed the course of the mayor’s race.
Many insiders believe if Blocker-Adams had stayed in the race, there most certainly would have been a runoff.
However, most believe the end result would have still been a newly elected Mayor Davis.
Of course, that’s all old news now.
A new day is coming with Mayor Davis.
Only time will tell whether Davis will be able to bring this city together and stay true to his pledge of “one Augusta.”
Good luck, sir.
It won’t be easy.