So the results are in for the two runoff elections in Columbia County and, let’s just say it, hats off to political newcomer Jodi Lott in the District 122 race.
She creamed former Columbia County Commissioner Mack Taylor in the runoff by winning 76 percent of the votes cast and has officially earned the District 122 seat.
It was an extremely impressive night for Lott and an embarrassing one for Taylor.
Just a few short months ago, Lott came out of nowhere.
She is a registered nurse and co-owner of a rehabilitation practice, but few people knew her beyond those roles. When she announced her candidacy for state Rep. Ben Harbin’s former House seat this summer, people were shocked.
But Lott proved them all wrong.
As the months went on, Lott made a political name for herself.
She worked the neighborhoods, knocked on hundreds of doors and attended political meetings and debates, even when she was not a scheduled speaker.
She impressed a lot of voters in Columbia County, while poor Taylor and his campaign became a laughing stock.
Not just because Taylor seemed to become consumed by the mudslinging and controversies stirred up by another District 122 opponent, local entertainment promoter Joe Mullins, but because voters didn’t trust him anymore.
When this young attorney entered into the political arena last year to run for the District 3 seat on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, he impressed a lot of folks.
He was young, energetic, conservative and a proud Christian.
Taylor was the perfect Columbia County candidate, but then he ruined it when he resigned from his District 3 commission seat to run for the House District 122 seat.
He was no longer perfect. Instead, he became a fraud in a lot of people’s eyes. That’s a hard image to overcome.
Taylor learned a very hard lesson this year. Unfortunately, that lesson will probably prove to be the end of his political future in Columbia County.
Over in the District 3 runoff, candidate Gary Richardson had a very good birthday.
“Well, my birthday is actually Dec. 1, so it’s either going to be a very good birthday present or a not-so-good one, “ Richardson told the Metro Spirit a few weeks ago. “It will be what it will be. But, with the six-and-a-half years of service on the planning commission and the last year-and-a-half as vice chair, when the District 3 seat became available I felt like I was ready to step up and fill that seat. To me, it’s very important to give back to the community that has given so much to us.”
The community obviously decided Richardson, owner of the Sparkle Express Car Wash, who has lived in Columbia County for more than 20 years, was the man for the job.
He received 54 percent of the votes cast compared to an impressive 45.7 percent for political newcomer and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Greg Grzybowski.
Richardson, who has served more than six years on the Columbia County Planning Commission, was rumored to be Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross’ “pick” for the seat.
That gossip began not long after Richardson selected Cross’ former campaign manager, Jean Garniewicz, to help him with his District 3 campaign.
Richardson never confirmed that endorsement by Cross.
“I don’t know that Ron has publicly endorsed me,” Richardson told the Metro Spirit. “But I think, with my six-and-a-half years of service, all of the commissioners — not just Chairman Cross — they know who I am and they know my thoughts. There are no surprises with Gary Richardson.”
So, don’t expect a lot of shake-up on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners as Richardson takes his new seat.
But that’s not always a bad thing.
After the resignation of former commissioners Charles Allen and Mack Taylor from that seat, District 3 is probably looking for a little stability at this point.
Columbia County voters have spoken.