Columbia County voters decided this past Tuesday that local businesswoman Jodi Lott and former Columbia County Commissioner Mack Taylor are headed to a December runoff in the District 122 race.
It was an extremely impressive night for Lott.
Just a few short months ago, very few people in Columbia County knew the name Jodi Lott.
When this registered nurse and co-owner of a rehabilitation practice announced her candidacy for state Rep. Ben Harbin’s former House seat this summer, many people thought this first-time candidate was simply getting her feet wet.
Citizens assumed she was just testing the political wading pool to see what would happen.
But as the months went on, Lott worked the neighborhoods, knocked on hundreds of doors and attended political meetings and debates, even when she was not a scheduled speaker.
She simply wanted to shake as many hands as possible and talk to the citizens about her vision.
As a result, she kicked ass in a four-person race by earning a whopping 41 percent of the votes.
For someone who has never served in political office or run a campaign before, that’s beyond impressive.
Her opponent in the Dec. 1 runoff, Taylor, came in second with 29 percent of the votes.
The truth is, Taylor’s campaign totally derailed leading up to the Nov. 3 election.
Over the past several weeks, Taylor was so consumed by the mudslinging and controversies stirred up by his other opponent, local entertainment promoter Joe Mullins, many of his would-be supporters decided to steer clear of him.
In the end, Mullins only received 15 percent of the votes.
So, Taylor spent much of his time defending himself against a candidate who didn’t even break 20 percent.
Simply put, Taylor wasted valuable time and energy fighting a loser.
It was painful to watch.
For months, Taylor would spend precious time posting comments on various Facebook pages discussing the controversies surrounding the election.
Defending himself via Facebook seemed not only desperate, but childish. It definitely was not the behavior of someone seeking a seat in the Georgia Legislature.
Honestly, it appeared that Taylor forgot what earned him his District 3 seat on Columbia County Commission.
Just last year, he was constantly pounding the pavement to defeat his opponent, Martinez businessman Trip Derryberry, in his 2014 runoff.
Taylor received 58 percent of the vote compared to Derryberry’s 41 percent.
The young attorney was soaring and the future looked much brighter with new blood on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
But then about six months into office, Taylor decided to jump ship on the Columbia County Commission and run for the District 122 seat.
The Insider tried to tell him that it was a terrible idea.
But Taylor insisted his constituents in Columbia County would rather him serve in the statehouse and help maintain the county’s influence in Atlanta instead of remaining on the commission.
The Insider doesn’t know which “constituents” Taylor was listening to, but they probably sent him down a path to his political demise.
If Taylor doesn’t win the District 122 runoff on Dec. 1, his political career is likely over.
His resignation from the Columbia County Commission will haunt him.
Taylor will forever be seen as the man who walked away from his political promises just to end up getting defeated at the polls trying to win a more prominent seat in Georgia.
It’s sad because Taylor could have been a very effective commissioner and possibly even an extremely successful legislator a few years down the line.
That political career could have set him up for a judgeship, much like the similar paths of previous politicians such as Randy Hall, James Blanchard Jr. and Mike Annis.
Many local attorneys would love to one day walk into a courtroom wearing a black robe, but becoming a judge often takes either serious political connections or an outstanding career in law.
So, where does that leave Taylor?
Well, the Insider isn’t saying Taylor can’t or won’t win the District 122 runoff.
He might. Fear of embarrassment and humiliation can be a strong incentive for a candidate.
But, right now, Lott is looking like a very confident and strong future leader for Columbia County, while Taylor appears to be stumbling through this election, completely lost and confused.
It will take a minor miracle for Taylor to turn around the negative attention, whether justified or not, that he has experienced over the past few months and convince voters that he is the man for the job.
The truth of the matter is, many Columbia County voters are not leaning towards a “man for the job.”
Voters have seen Jodi Lott running a positive, intelligent campaign and they are impressed.
She is the one who is now soaring high, while Taylor is still stuck in the mud.