Sanders declares 'gloves are off' as Mayor pro tem throws support behind Roundtree for sheriff

Elections 2012 WRDW
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The gloves are coming off. That's the word from the Republican challenger for Richmond County sheriff.

As News 12's Chris Thomas reports, the announcement comes as the mayor pro tem throws his support behind the Democratic candidate, Richard Roundtree.

Freddie Sanders says the Roundtree camp is misleading the public about his platform. And now he is issuing fighting words about suggestions he calls a flat-out lie.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles has thrown his support behind Roundtree for sheriff of Richmond County:

"I think without a doubt, that Richard is the right choice for sheriff," he said. "... I'm not saying that's an endorsement, but he's got my support.

"You're going to be voting for Richard Roundtree?" Thomas asked.

"Yes. I will," Bowles replied.

Here's what opponent Sanders has to say about that: "Then as far as I'm concerned, the gloves are off, and I'm ready."

Sanders says Roundtree surrogates are spreading bad information about his campaign.

"That I'm for locking up the youth ... that's just the biggest lie that has ever been told on the face of this earth," Sanders said.

Roundtree is pushing rehabilitation and outreach programs for young people.

"We should be able to try to save as many people as we possibly can -- not just kids, but even adults who have strayed down the wrong path. We've got to live and work together regardless of how things come out," Roundtree said.

"There is special program, Chris, that I support that's been around for a while called church," Sanders said.

Sanders says law enforcement can't take the place of the family.

"So if they want to get with me and debate me about all these issues, I want them out front to come on and let's do that," Sanders said.

In the end, Roundtree says he's thankful for the mayor pro tem's support.

"Of course we are appreciative of anybody who is going to vote for us ... that's one more vote that we have," he said.

Roundtree says the community is coming together.

"There has been a lot of divisiveness, and I think now the healing process is beginning and we are looking forward to a bright year once we win this election in November," he said.

Sanders says he is ready to debate any day. Roundtree says the Sanders camp has not officially reached out to him to debate and that he is focused on talking with voters.

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