Columbia County is less than two weeks away from finding out who will win the July 24 runoff and take the seat currently held by Chairman Ron Cross.
If Columbia County Commissioner Doug Duncan manages to get his base to return to the polls and he wins the runoff, many think there won’t be much change in the current politics of Columbia County.
Duncan has a solid working relationship with current commissioners Trey Allen and Gary Richardson, as well as County Administrator Scott Johnson.
And after the May 22 election, Duncan also seems very pleased with the fact that the construction company executive, Connie Melear, easily won the District 1 seat with 74 percent of vote and candidate Dewey Galeas won the District 4 seat with 54 percent.
Both Melear and Galeas appear to have similar views to Duncan on the county’s growth.
In fact, Melear definitely knows a thing or two about future growth in Columbia County, considering she is the chief financial officer for Augusta-based general contractor R.W. Allen.
But if Tucker wins the runoff on July 24, don’t expect business as usual in Columbia County.
Tucker has proudly stated throughout her campaign that she is going to shake up the good ol’ boys’ club in Columbia County.
However, if Tucker wins, she won’t be able to just walk into the commission chambers off Ronald Reagan Drive, snap her fingers and magically transform everything.
She still has to convince Trey Allen, Gary Richardson, Connie Melear and Dewey Galeas to follow her lead.
That will be Tucker’s true test, and many think that she will actually be spinning her wheels, alone without anyone’s support if she wins the chair seat.
Why, you ask?
Well, politicos think that Tucker burned her bridges with Richardson and Allen after she accused Scott Johnson of creating a “hostile work environment” and dragged his name and the county’s reputation through
Therefore, many critics of Tucker don’t think that Richardson and Allen will be quick to jump on Tucker’s bandwagon if she wins.
And then there is the surprising action that Tucker did in May by voicing her opinions about the candidates running for District 1 and District 4 seats on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
Now, Tucker insists that she did not endorse the candidates running against Melear and Galeas, but she definitely praised their opposing candidates just a few weeks before the May 22 election.
What exactly did she say?
“There have been numerous campaign forums held over the last couple of months. I am so happy I have had a chance to personally talk with, as well as listen to the platforms of the other candidates running in Commission District 1 and Commission District 4,” Tucker posted on her campaign’s Facebook page on May 1. “I give praise to everyone for stepping up and going through what it takes to run a campaign, but there are two individuals who really stand out from the pack. Hafeez Chaudhry in District 1 and Lee Muns in District 4.”
Now, Tucker says that’s not an endorsement, but … come on.
“Both of these candidates have campaign websites and I really encourage you to visit those sites and read about their platforms, experience and even contact them personally and see for yourself that they really do stand out with the best qualifications to serve,” Tucker wrote. “It’s time to truly dislodge from the establishment and the tax and spend mentality… we have a chance to really make a positive difference.”
So, how do you think Melear and Galeas feel about Tucker? Do you think they’ll be ready and anxious to follow her leadership is she becomes the next chair?
Tucker told the Metro Spirit a few weeks ago that she is looking forward to working with all of the current and newly elected commissioners.
“I understand different personalities. I realize there are existing relationships with the commissioners,” Tucker said. “There are going to be three of us who are new to the commission and Trey Allen and Gary Richardson have two more years in their terms. I think the world of Gary, and I have worked with Trey about eight years. I have no problem working with any of the commissioners.”
Tucker told the Metro Spirit that attitudes will definitely change once Columbia County Chairman Ron Cross leaves the office at the end of the year.
“I think once the change occurs and the current chair evacuates the building, then I think we can sit down and we can have serious discussions about where we need to take this county,” she said. “We will lay everything else aside.”
Critics of Tucker say she is wearing rose-colored glasses if she honestly believes she’ll be best buddies with all of the commissioners.
“I am going to go in with open arms. What they do, will be entirely up to them, but I strongly encourage that they also have that positive attitude and let’s work together,” Tucker told the Metro Spirit. “People don’t have to like me. That’s fine. But they have to understand that when I win, I’ll be the chairperson.”
One promise that Tucker will be able to keep is, if she’s elected chair, the commission meetings will no longer be boring.
Columbia County is definitely facing a fork in the road.
Voters have less than two weeks to decide which course the county should take for its best possible future.