District 39 State Representative Jeff Smith qualified as a Republican on Wednesday to seek re-election to the seat he now occupies. Smith picked up an opponent, as well, before qualifying deadline in former school board member Jack Larmour. Larmour is a Caledonia resident. His official press release is as follows:
My name is Jack Larmour. I have lived in District 39 for 40 years. My strength comes from the Lord, family, and friends.
I am NOW and always have been a Conservative Republican.
I am convinced voters of District 39 are also Conservative Republicans.
It has come to my attention I now have an opponent in the Republican Primary who last week was a Democract, this week an Independent, and today a Republican.
The Commercial Dispatch reported Sunday Jeff was an Independant and seeking Speaker of the House.
I believe voters deserve to know where their representative stands. I am confused with all of the switching back and forth. My friends and family know what I am and what I stand for. We have made the decision to enter the District 39 race. My decision is certianly not against Jeff. It is about our community, neighbors, friends and family having CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATION IN DISTRICT 39.
I am a Conservative Republican. I will be the same guy I was yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
CLEARLY – DEFINED. CONSERVATIVE. REPUBLICAN
I spoke with Jeff Smith after qualifying was over and he had this to say about Mr. Larmour’ s statement.
I changed to the Republican Party today after much thought and consideration. It was not a large leap, as I have been so conservative for so long, with 20 years of a voting record to show that conservatism. By Changing to the Republican Party, we can run in August rather than in November.
I have a good man running against me, and wish him nothing but luck. If we complete the election cycle in August rather than November, and should i be blesed enough to prevail, I would be able to continue my question to bring the Speaker of the House to Lowndes County and the Golden Triangle area, and not be one (1) vote short as I was in 2008.
I do not want to seem presumptuous and expect a vigorous campaign from my friend, Jack Larmour. I have know his family for years and respect them all. I am glad the qualifying deadline is over for this last of the state, district and local offices. I will try to be honorable in this short time before the primaries, ask the electorate to be patient , but not tolerate mean spirited campaigning but any candidates.
I’ll speak with Mr. Larmour, soon, and we’ll have much more on this and other political races as the campaign season begins to get more intense. These two will meet in the Republican primary in just two short months!
Commercial Dispatch ‘Opinion’ on New Hope
Back on May 13th, the Commercial Dispatch ‘opined’ on the incidents involving recently reported teacher/student relationships at New Hope school (as well as the incident involving the 10 year old who brought a handgun to school). The ‘opinion’ piece, called ‘Our Opinion: Let’s Learn Our Lesson’s From New Hope’, pointed out the unusual rash of such events and asked the question, “Are these incidents and legal episodes part of a larger pattern? Have administrators lost control of the New Hope schools?”
Nothing wrong with reporting and commenting on incidents such as these…it’s appropriate and sad to hear about. But my problem with the CD opinion piece was its opening question, “What’s in the water in New Hope?”, which paints a broad brush over the entire New Hope community and schools. Which is very unfair to the majority of good, decent, law-abiding citizens of New Hope, as it would any such community in this area. That comment (question) was inappropriate!
Most of the teachers, citizens, administrators and students of New Hope drink that same water and wouldn’t even think of doing something similar to the incidents recently reported. And many of these citizens have been appalled by the mere suggestion and broad brush painted by that suggestion. In the writers defense, I realize that it probably wasn’t their intent to inflame an entire community…but they did! You have to be careful in making such suggestions. The ones who were charged with such crimes certainly deserve those comments if, in fact, they are found guilty of them. But, again, we have to be careful in making an entire community liable for what a few have done.
The opinion ‘piece’ also commented on Lynn Wright (former New Hope principal who is a candidate for county superintendent) and his firing over an alleged improper purchase of a lawnmower (and the fact that he’s suing the district over the firing). I realize, again, stories such as these are controversial and of much opinion throughout our school district. But when it comes to whether Mr. Wright was right or wrong, or whether he was guilty or not…should be decided at the polls during the upcoming election. Our citizens are, overall, pretty sharp when it comes to perception of who should lead our county school district. And they’ll make the right decision, whatever that decision happens to be. We shouldn’t be trying to slant that perception. And I doubt that we can anyway! The story about Mr. Wright has been reported over and over in several publications (especially the Dispatch). It’s been beat in the ground. It’s time to let the voters decide.
To their credit, The Commercial Dispatch opinion piece did point out that the New Hope community had many positives to mix in with the negatives. And to the question “Are these incidents and legal episodes part of a larger pattern? Have administrators lost control of the New Hope schools?”, the piece answered, “We think not. While these are terrible occurrences, they happen everywhere.” But, the “What’s in the water in New Hope?” question, asked at the very beginning of the opinion piece, practically dashed the credibility of the story itself.
The real lesson learned here is: Let’s not burden an entire community (New Hope, Caledonia, Artesia, Crawford, Columbus or elsewhere) with the actions of a few!
And while we’re on the subject of the Commercial Dispatch…they are charging political office candidates a couple hundred dollars each to print their names in the paper as candidates for the particular office they seek. If those who have qualified to run for office don’t pay the fee, their name doesn’t get listed.
At The Columbus Packet, we feel it’s a service to our readers to inform you of who is running for public office. Therefore those names will be listed…without charge!
Two Months Until Primaries
Democrat and Republican primaries are only two months away (August 2nd). You can already tell from the amount of political campaign signs now cluttering the landscape that the intensity has picked up a bit. Though it’s apparent that many voters still don’t understand that you’ll have to maintain loyalty to a political party during the primaries. Which means, when you go to vote on August 2nd, you’ll have to vote either Democrat or Republican. If you favor a Democrat candidate in a particular race, but favor a Republican in another, you’ll have to choose which one will get your support. You can’t vote for both during primaries. Same goes if a runoff occurs three weeks later. You still must maintain party loyalty. (At the same time, if you don’t vote during the regular election day on August 2nd, you can vote during the runoff).
This is why it can be a tough decision for candidates to choose which party to run under. Historically, blacks vote for Democrats and whites tend to vote Republican (though whites vote for Republicans on a lesser scale, percentage-wise, because there are still a few white Democrats around). As I said…historically speaking! There are signs that the process is changing, if ever so slightly. (Judge Scott Colom argues that blacks are, for the most part, conservatives…even though they’ll vote for Democrats on a large scale. I believe he’s right. RW)
It’s another reason why you’re seeing more and more candidates switch to independents. Without the party affiliation, voters can wait until the November general election to cast a ballot for independents. In November, party affiliation has no bearing on the election. You can vote for candidates regardless their party affiliation. The drawback to party affiliation nowadays is: you have to make it to November in the first place!
The one race in Lowndes County that will really draw a test on party affiliation this year is the county school superintendent race. You have three Republican candidates, Edna McGill, Sam Allison and Lynn Wright, all white. You have a lone Democrat, Cliff Reynolds, who is black. And you have two white independents in Rusty Greene and Roger Hill. Which means in November, you’ll have one Republican primary winner against a black Democrat and two white independents. Historically speaking, once again, this will favor the Democrat in November because two independents will likely pull votes away from the Republican and Reynolds could win that race. Let me add that Mr. Reynolds is a nice guy and a good educator with a very inpressive history in education. Qualification-wise, all of these candidates have impressive credentials. But let’s not kid ourselves if we don’t recognize that Mr. Reynolds will have an advantage by running as a Democrat and could pick up heavy black vote in November, while the three white candidates will likely split much of the white vote. Again, i’m speaking in historical terms…it doesn’t mean that all whites will vote for a white candidate and all blacks will vote for Mr. Reynolds. But, historically speaking, Mr. Reynolds should receive most of the black vote in November.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0