Monday, November 30, 2009

Runoff is Tuesday in House race 129

Steve Earles, 56, or 27-year-old Kip Smith of Columbus, both Republicans, will serve the remaining year in the two-year term of Smith’s father, Republican Vance Smith Jr. of Pine Mountain, who resigned to become commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.

The district encompasses southern Troup County, including West Point, most of Harris County and the northwest corner of Muscogee County.

In the Nov. 3 special election, Smith got 49.4 percent of the vote, followed by 22 percent for Earles, 13.4 percent for Jerry Luquire of Columbus and 15.1 percent for Earl T. Davis of Hamilton. A runoff was scheduled because no candidate got the required majority.

Earles, who has a massage therapy business in LaGrange, carried Troup County with 333 votes, compared to 303 for Smith.


But Smith said he thinks his age “works as an advantage in many situations.”

“I’m not cynical about government,” he said. “Obviously we need fresh conservative leadership at this point. We’re at a critical point on the state and national level.”

Earles said he favors term limits, pledging to serve no more than two terms in the legislature.

“I think that’s why they hold elections,” Smith responded. “It should be left up to the people to decide.”

Earles criticized Smith for accepting campaign contributions from road construction companies outside the district.

“I have not accepted any money outside the district from corporate donations, “Earle said.

Smith said he’s received contributions from companies that “believe in our message.”

“Our family has been in the construction business for 60 years and I’ve known many of the them for many years,” Smith said. “I appreciate anyone who’s willing to help get our message out.”

Only eight of the county’s 16 polling places will be open for the election from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. - the Administration Building, Griggs Center, West Point, Rosemont, Long Cane, Gray Hill, Lee’s Crossing and Highland districts. Elections Superintendent Donald Boyd expects a turnout of less than 5 percent in Troup County.

I was shocked that democrats did not field a candidate to run for this open seat. You have Meriwhether County, which leans democratic, Harris, which tilts republican, northern Muscogee County, which lean republican & southern Troup County, which is a narrow republican lean. If democrats just let seats like these go unchallenged, it it become harder ofr democrats t make any serious dent in the republican majorities.

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