Only on 12: Augusta mayor endorses candidates for Commission

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 07, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Mayor Deke Copenhaver spoke out today in favor of candidates in two runoffs. But one current commissioner says that's not a good idea.

"I've been preaching a team game since I took office, and I think I have to come forward on this," says Mayor Deke Copenhaver. He is announcing his picks for what he calls a winning Commission after a low voter turnout in yesterday's election.

A run-off in Districts 2 and 4 is coming on December 4, 2007.

"My choice is to support Freddie Handy and Alvin Mason," Copenhaver said.

It is a call that has all the key players sounding off.

"To come right out not even 24 hours after a race..." District 4 incumbent Bernard Harper said. "You know, that's what I said to the voters all along. This whole race is about their team. And it's not their team, it's the citizens of District 4."

"This is huge," Mason said. "This is huge for the city, and that tells you some level of confidence that the mayor has in terms of the types of skill sets that I bring to the table to help make this Commission move forward."

"I was endorsed in 2007 by the voters of District 4," Harper said. "I believe I'll be endorsed again on December 4, 2007 by the voters of District 4 because I'm the best man for the job."

"Well, I think the numbers told you a little bit differently last night," Mason said. "So, I'm not going to get into an argument or a pissing contest with Mr. Harper."

The big talk can be heard across district lines. District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams said, "You look at Freddie [Handy]'s record now, and his record ain't as good as the man that's running against him who's never been in office. So if that's the man the mayor wants to support, that just makes me think, where the mayor's thinking is at?"

"If Commissioner Williams can support my opponent, why can't the mayor support me?" Handy said. "It's not a black and white issue, it's man to man. We don't look at color. The only color that I know is green."

"With the support or without it, I'm pretty confident that I'll be in that seat in January," said District 4 candidate Corey Johnson.

Mayor Copenhaver says, "I want this to be known as the best municipal government in Georgia, and we can get that with the right players in the mix. I have no doubt that we can."

Out of a possible 10,000 votes, Handy got 565. Mason got 899 votes out of a possible 12,000. The mayor says those numbers just aren't good enough.

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