In October 2005, the editorial staff wrote, “We implore you to vote for Helen Blocker-Adams for mayor.”
The endorsement surprised much of Augusta because many felt that the conservative newspaper staff would endorse either then-political newcomer Deke Copenhaver or former Augusta Commissioner Tommy Boyles, who also happened to be running for mayor in 2005.
But the editorial staff stood firmly by its choice: Helen Blocker-Adams.
“With little decision-making authority to speak of, the most important thing Augusta’s mayor can do is set the right tone for the city,” the editorial staff wrote in its Oct. 30, 2005, endorsement of Blocker-Adams. “But oh, how important that is.”
The editorial pointed out all the positives that Augusta has going for it, including a low cost of living, a strong medical community and a “multitude of cultural, recreational and educational offerings.”
“The only thing holding back Augusta is our own attitude — our inability to work together toward common goals,” the editorial stated. “Helen Blocker-Adams has a track record of bringing people together. She has the leadership skills to set a direction and the drive to get us there.”
The editorial blasted then-Augusta commissioners such as Willie Mays, who happened to be running against Blocker-Adams for mayor in 2005, as having “squabbled and squandered us to nowhere.”
The editorial went on and on describing Blocker-Adams’ enthusiasm, her hard work as the city’s former economic development ombudsman and her ability to bring people together of all races.
“No one will cut across racial lines like she does,” the editorial stated. “And there may be no task more important.”
After repeatedly praising Blocker-Adams as a breath of fresh air in Augusta, the Chronicle then shamelessly patted itself on the back.
“Notice we didn’t mention Helen is African-American,” the editorial stated. “Why not? Because, other than affording us the delight of being able to champion the first black female mayor in Augusta’s history, it’s not relevant.
“She is simply the best candidate.”
Which brings us to this year’s race for mayor.
Blocker-Adams is again running for mayor, this time, against four other African-American candidates: State Sen. Hardie Davis, Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason, retired businessman Charles Cummings and Richmond County schoolteacher Lori Myles.
So, will the Chronicle stand behind its original endorsement of Blocker-Adams?
If she was so wonderful back then, it would only stand to reason that she should still be on the top of the editorial staff’s list.
But will the Chronicle’s head be turned by mayoral candidate Hardie Davis, who apparently already seems so far ahead in the polls?
A Chronicle story this weekend stated that Davis received the support of 36 percent of the almost 450 voters polled by the Atlanta company, InsiderAdvantage.
Coming in second was Blocker-Adams with 16 percent of the vote.
The newspaper reported the support for Mason, Cummings and Myles were all in the single digits, according to the poll.
Now, it should be noted that The Huffington Post this weekend questioned InsiderAdvantage’s “unusual new methods” of polling voters.
The article, which can be viewed at huffingtonpost.com, states the pollster is attempting to combine “automated phone polls with Internet surveys.”
Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll and co-founder of the original pollster.com, told The Huffington Post the was concerned about InsiderAdvantage’s methods.
“The more ad hoc the approach the more impossible it becomes to assess,” Franklin is quoted as saying. “In effect we have polls with no theoretical basis to claim legitimacy. Maybe they work. Maybe they don’t. We don’t know.”
So, Augustans may want to take the results of InsiderAdvantage’s poll with a grain of salt.
But back to the main question at hand: Will the Chronicle stand by Blocker-Adams?
Who knows, really.
Trying to predict what the Chronicle’s editorial staff writes is like trying to
walk backwards down Broad Street blindfolded, with your feet tied together and no shoes, while standing on your hands… well, you get the idea.
But rumor is the newspaper is feeling the pressure because there are definitely some local heavy hitters backing Davis.
When you look at the list of folks who hosted Davis’ reception this week in Goodwill’s the Snelling Center, it is somewhat surprising.
Several are big supporters of another former state senator who has, let’s just say, been away for a little while.
Like, for the past 10 years.
Politics definitely makes strange bedfellows. Especially in Augusta.