Two Republican runoff elections next week will determine the next congressman for most of Fayette County and the next district attorney for Fayette and three smaller counties south of us.
In the District 3 race for the U.S. House of Representatives, you have two guys to choose from. One — Drew Ferguson, a dentist — is the ex-mayor of a town of 3,770 people just this side of the Alabama border in west Georgia.
The other — Mike Crane, a construction company owner in Coweta County — is the current state senator for District 28, which includes all of Coweta and Heard counties, half of Troup County and a portion of Carroll County.
Here’s what else I can say about them: one dispenses lies; the other is a blunt man of principle.
Ferguson, a son of privilege, takes credit as mayor of the little town for bringing the huge Kia automotive plant to West Point. Problem is, the $1 billion plant’s location was announced in 2006, two years before Ferguson became mayor.
He’s also papered the district with expensive mailers accusing his opponent of wanting to shoot police officers. He knows that is a lie, and yet his ambition drives him to mouth whatever lies it takes to swindle the voters.
Crane’s in-context comment centered on the dangers to both law officers and homeowners inherent in no-knock search warrants, especially if mistakes are made. The most recent in Georgia was earlier this year and involved an innocent resident in nearby Henry County who heard shouts and armed people crashing into his house in the dark of night. Not being a criminal and not knowing what was happening, the man prepared to defend his home against intruders and was shot in the neck by a law officer. He died a few days later.
The officers had crashed into the wrong house. The warrant had the wrong address. No crime was committed by the civilian and nobody’s going to jail. But an innocent civilian is dead. That’s what Crane meant with his comment about no-knock warrants and the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Mike Crane is the blue jeans guy who builds houses and actually believes in something bigger than his own ambition: the principle of individual freedom and its embodiment in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He actually believes those words of our nation’s founding fathers. And he tries to craft laws that further those principles and opposes those laws and practices that weaken those founding principles.
For that adherence to principles, he has been attacked by the crowd that feeds at the public trough, including the current governor of this state. Those who push for crony capitalism will find him a staunch friend — not of big government, but of small businesses.
Ferguson is a slick Willie kind of Republican. He and Hillary would find much in common. If you like that kind of slippery, sliding let’s-make-a-deal politician, he’s your guy.
If you like a representative who will vote on principles and not bend to pressure from elite power-brokers, then Mike Crane is your guy. I like Mike. And I trust him to be true to the Constitution and to the principles of liberty.
The DA race pits a Fayette resident against a guy whose would really rather not be bothered with big Fayette County and its crimes and civil matters.
Upson County resident Ben Coker came right out and said it in a news story on our pages: He would rather split Fayette off from his preferred counties of Upson, Pike and Spalding. He wants Fayette voters to give him the four-county job, but then he really wants to tend to just his favorite three counties in the circuit to the south of us.
That’s kind of the political version of a one-night stand: Vote for me now, Fayette County, but be outta my bedroom by morning.
I think Fayette — which has more population than the other three counties combined — deserves better than a DA who needs Fayette votes but otherwise disdains serving folks in Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone and Brooks.
Truth be told, I think Coker wants to have his own circuit consisting of Upson, Pike and Spalding and to cut Fayette loose to take its chances. Coker has enthusiastic support from the courthouse crowds in those three southern counties, including a disgraced former judge — an Upson native — who now is a state lawmaker with the power to start that ball rolling.
Rudjard Hayes, who lives and practices law in Fayette County, wants to serve the entire circuit based on each county’s criminal and civil justice needs. He has more prosecuting experience than Coker, and he won’t jilt us Fayette voters the morning after the runoff election.
I am voting for those two: Crane for Congress and Hayes for DA.
[Cal Beverly, the editor and publisher of The Citizen since its founding in 1993, has lived in Peachtree City since 1977.]