The Top Story by Chris Graham
DuBose Egleston makes no secret of the fact that he is running for the at-large seat on Waynesboro City Council.
He sent out a brochure to city voters on Friday touting his candidacy. And he has signs up all over the city that do the same.
He even has a message posted on the back of his oversized red pickup broadcasting to River City residents that he would appreciate their votes.
So when somebody asked him last week if he thought he was getting his campaign started a little early, he had to do a doubletake.
“Well, the election’s not until November, is it?” he was asked.
A week and a day away
In fact, the city will elect representatives to city council and the school board in wards A and B and at large on May 4 – or a week from tomorrow, for those keeping score at home.
Not that you would be able to tell – what with the general lack of activity on the election front and all.
The 2004 city election season will pass without one candidate forum or debate – the result, in part, of the demise of the League of Women Voters of Waynesboro.
The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored a forum in the 2002 election cycle, has also decided to stay on the sidelines in ’04.
“This is another example of how regionalism isn’t always for the best. We used to have our own chamber of commerce, and it always sponsored forums and debates for the people of Waynesboro to get a chance to get to know their leaders,” said Egleston, referring to the regional chamber’s predecessor, the Waynesboro-East Augusta Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a shame that somebody hasn’t stepped up to fill that void and the void of the League of Women Voters. Forums and debates give people a chance to see for themselves how the candidates stand on the issues,” Egleston told The Augusta Free Press.
Egleston’s opponent in the city-council at-large race, incumbent Chuck Ricketts, said the ’04 city campaign has been reduced to one of campaign signs.
“Because that’s all you’re seeing right now,” said Ricketts, who was elected in 1996 in a wild five-way race that included Egleston, and was re-elected in 2000 without opposition.
“I don’t know if that’s a good thing. How do we decide who wins? Whoever has the most signs?” Ricketts told the AFP.
Ricketts said the election seems to be at a place “where a lot of people don’t even know that there’s an election coming up.”
Ricketts said it could be that there’s so much going on in the world right now – from the war in Iraq to the state-budget impasse in Richmond.
“I know myself that the first thing I do in the morning is look at the papers to see what the latest is on the budget. There’s a lot going on to capture our attention. The election seems to be a little further down on the list,” Ricketts said.