November 8, 2006
The race for Augusta mayor wasn't close at all. Incumbent Deke Copenhaver swept past the competition.
He ended up with more than 65 percent of the vote...more than all his opponents combined. Former fire chief Ronnie Few had 18 percent, William "Gil" Gilyard had 4 percent, and Steven Kendrick had 13 percent.
Copenhaver really cleaned up last night...and for this next term, he's not looking to change his game plan. He says he'll just work harder to complete what he started one year ago.
After little sleep, Mayor Deke Copenhaver was out this morning speaking to seniors at Thankful Baptist Church in Augusta.
"I personally voted for him, and I was rooting for him," said church deacon Nancy Eaton.
And most voters were. His strong sweep in Tuesday's election may have been a shocker to some, but not to him.
"You cannot fake sincerity, and I honestly care about everybody in this community," Copenhaver said. "I want to see everybody do well, and I just think the people responded to that."
The mayor says his focus for the next four years is centered on economic development.
"That's a common ground issue," he said. "Everybody in this community needs opportunity, and we're creating opportunity for everybody across the board."
While the mayor now has four years in office, he says that doesn't mean he'll be getting too crazy with the gavel.
"Don't look for me to become a dictator," he said. "The politics of power are what put the city in the situation we're in, and it's diplomacy that's bringing us out."
There's no doubt his role is critical in the city's future. At the end of the day, he hopes he make you proud.
"I am a regular person and I just enjoy being a part of this community. I'm not better than anybody else, but people know that I want to work for everybody."
And the job is often easier when you have the support of folks who've been around and perhaps know Augusta best.
"I think he's a wonderful person," said Mary Francis Duke.
"I'm just praying and hoping that God will continue to lead him," Deacon Eaton said.
This is the first time in the history of Augusta's consolidated government that a mayoral candidate won without a runoff.
Copenhaver's overwhelming support all over Augusta is strongly demonstrated in this map at the Augusta government website.