News 12 is following all of the elections in the greater Augusta area. We'll keep you updated on the latest as we learn more about the candidates and the November elections draw closer.
One of the biggest local races News 12 is following is the one for Richmond County sheriff. Current Sheriff Ronnie Strength announced he was retiring earlier this year. Democrat Lt. Richard Roundtree will be facing off with Republican Freddie Sanders in November.
Another heated race is for Georgia Congressional District 12. Republican Lee Anderson has been nominated to battle it out with incumbent Democrat John Barrow in November.
Aiken County voting are faced with a few key elections and a referendum that could be confusing to some voters. News 12 is breaking them down. Read more here.
News 12's Chad Mills sits down and talks with many of the Aiken County candidates you'll be seeing on your ballot. See all of those full interviews here.
News 12's Laura Warren sits down with both Lee Anderson and John Barrow to discuss the race for the 12th Congressional District. Read more and see the full interviews here.
Three people are arrested on charges they vandalized dozens of political campaign signs overnight. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says the trio was caught damaging other property, then confessed to defacing signs supporting Mitt Romney and Lee Anderson. Read more here.
Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young debated Councilman Scott Singer about changing the county's government. Singer is for the referendum, but Young is strongly opposed. Read more here.
Republican candidate for Richmond County sheriff Freddie Sanders speaks out after emergency surgery. Read more here.
Four candidates working to earn your vote in the commission race for District 1 in Richmond County. All four faced off in a debate on everything from the TEE Center to dilapidated homes. Read more here.
Man up! That's the challenge to Democratic candidate for sheriff of Richmond County Richard Roundtree. One night after debate night in America, the Republican challenger for top cop is knocking Roundtree for refusing to debate.
"If you think I don't have qualifications, then be man enough to get up there and get in front of the people and tell them why I don't have qualifications," said Republican candidate for sheriff Freddie Sanders.
Sanders launched a blistering attack on Lt. Roundtree during our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM for refusing to debate. Read more here.
The call was issued on News 12. Republican challenger for sheriff of Richmond County Freddie Sanders called for debates with Democratic challenger Richard Roundtree.
"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. "Let's debate!"
Roundtree responded on our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM.
"I'm saying there is nothing to debate. My issues are my issues. They have been on my platform," he said. "They have not wavered at all."
Roundtree says he focused on things like education over incarceration.
"Our job is peacekeepers. We are not law enforcement officers. We're peacekeepers," he said. "Our job is to promote voluntary compliance." Read more here.
Republican challenger Lee Anderson is currently refusing to debate Democratic incumbent John Barrow until Barrow does something Anderson wants.
"Until John Barrow gets in front of a camera and says who he's voting for, we won't debate him," said Anderson campaign Spokesman Ryan Mahoney. "We don't think that he deserves another platform to deceive voters." Read more here.
After Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles announces his support for Lt. Richard Roundtree in the race for Richmond County sheriff, opponent Freddie Sanders says, "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. Read more here.
News 12 talks with Lee Anderson about his platform. He'll be facing off against Democrat incumbent John Barrow in November. Read more here.
The plot is thickening amid an alleged vote-buying scandal in the Richmond County Sheriff's Office race. Now, Latasha Brown, the woman who made the original allegations, could be facing charges of her own. Read the warrant application here. You can see our interview with Moore here.
It's official ... after the recount results were certified, Lee Anderson will be facing off with Democrat incumbent John Barrow in November.
The final numbers:
Lee Anderson: 13,785 votes, 50.29 percent
Rick Allen: 13,626 votes, 49.71 percent
The Georgia Secretary of State's Office has certified the votes from the GOP 12th Congressional District runoff on Aug. 21, and election officials report Lee Anderson claimed 50.29 percent of the vote while Rick Allen received 49.71 percent.
It changed the original unofficial number by a few votes, and actually widened the margin between the two a little. Still, with a 159-vote difference between the two, it's enough for Allen to ask for a recount.
Allen has already requested one.
Cpt. Scott Peebles now says he's backing Lt. Richard Roundtree, the man who beat him in the Democratic primary. Read the full statements here.
Mrs. Jordan called into our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM with Fattz and Cher to comment on the vote-buying allegations surrounding her husband and the Roundtree campaign.
"We are willing to take a lie detector test," Jordan said. "We are willing to do whatever it takes to go forward with her being prosecuted for filing a false report." Read more here.
Republican candidate Freddie Sanders calls the situation "bizarre."
"It's a non-issue," Sanders said. "I look forward to us getting together and debating what Augusta needs." Read more here.
Listen to the full radio interviews here:
The Georgia Secretary of State's Office says it's investigating Lt. Richard Roundtree for vote buying.
Latasha Moore told Richmond County investigators she was at a Roundtree campaign event at Dogwood Terrace when she was approached by Jerry Lee Jordan. The report alleges Jordan promised Moore a car if she could get her and four others to the polls to vote for Lt. Roundtree. Read more here.
Lt. Richard Roundtree is looking ahead to the November election, where he's looking to become Richmond County's first African-American sheriff. Roundtree narrowly edged out Cpt. Scott Peebles in Tuesday's Democratic runoff, winning the race by only about 500 votes.
"I never thought that I'd be the first anything, let alone the historic nature of being the first African-American sheriff candidate going into the race," Roundtree said. Read more here.
The visibly emotional candidate's rise has not come without a degree of drama.
"The voters voted and people need to get over it and move on," Bowles said. "All this talk and trash about moving to Columbia County ... they need to shut up and suck it up. Augusta is a great city." Read more here.
Freddie Sanders, the Republican candidate, says he's gotten more donations and calls for support.
He has a message for Roundtree: "Congratulations to Richard and my heart goes out to Scott. And we are going to debate the issues. We are going to let the people decide ... and look at the candidates and if they decide that they want to vote for Richard and elect him sheriff for the qualifications ... they should vote him and I'm going to help him move forward."
In the 12th Congressional District race, Republican candidate Rick Allen is calling for a recount. Allen's campaign manager tells News 12 they are waiting on the certification of the results and some outstanding absentee ballots. Read more here.
The unofficial vote count is in and it looks like it will be Democrat Richard Roundtree versus Republican Freddie Sanders in the general election for Richmond County sheriff.
"I'm tired, but I'm excited," Roundtree said to News 12's Laura Warren.
He says opponent Scott Peebles called him and said that he would support them in the campaign.
News 12's Chris Thomas talked to Peebles after votes came in.
"Well, obviously, I'm disappointed. When you decide to throw your hat in the ring, then ... somebody's gotta lose," he said.
Both Peebles and his campaign manager say it's too early to say if they would ask for a recount.
Although Lee Anderson came out on top of the unofficial results, he didn't want to give a comment.
Anderson's campaign manager said, "We're feeling great. It's an exciting night for us. We look forward to moving forward."
His opponent, Rick Allen, lost by 153 votes in unofficial polling numbers.
"If there had not been a sheriff's race, ya know, we'd probably be sitting here with a couple thousand vote lead. But, you know, that's not the case," said Allen to News 12's Katie Beasley.
U.S. House, District 12 (GOP):
Lee Anderson: 13,778 -- 50%
Rick Allen: 13,625 -- 50%
Richmond County Sheriff (Dem):
Richard Roundtree: 13,712 -- 51%
Scott Peebles: 13,265 -- 49%
Advanced voting for the upcoming runoff finished up Friday at 6 p.m. Election officials say the turnout for early voting has been very good, and they are expecting 20 to 30 percent of voters to turn out on Tuesday for the primary runoff, but there's a few things you should know before you head to the polls. Read more here.
The mudslinging continues as both Lee Anderson and Rick Allen work to attack one another.
On Thursday, Allen spent the day in Atlanta, taping a debate for the Atlanta Press Club to air on GPB. Read more here.
Anderson picks up the endorsement of former candidate Wright McLeod. McLeod came in third place during the primary, losing by less than 1 percent to Allen.
Cpt. Scott Peebles and Lt. Richard Roundtree braved the rain to meet up at Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday morning. Pastor Corey Brown led an open forum with the candidates -- one of the last before the Democratic runoff -- now only 10 days away. Read more here.
While the Republican runoff heats up, incumbent Democratic Congressman John Barrow seems cool, calm and collected as the November election inches closer.
News 12 sat down with him to talk about the issues. He talked about his campaign and how he distinguishes himself from his opponents. Barrow says this country needs more moderates in the Capitol to work with both sides of the aisle. Read more here.
The recount results came back, and Rick Allen and Lee Anderson are officially set to face off in the runoff on Aug. 21.
Wright McLeod sent out the following statement after the announcement:
"Today, the recount we requested confirmed that Wright McLeod for Congress has fallen just short and we remain 580 votes behind. We hoped for a different result, but now we must accept the outcome."
The final tally is as follows:
-Lee Anderson: 20,551 votes, 34.22 percent
-Rick Allen: 15, 436 votes, 25.71 percent
-Wright McLeod: 14,856 votes. 24.74 percent
-Maria Sheffield: 9,207 votes, 15.33 percent
The gloves are now off and neither Allen nor Anderson are holding back, attacking one another in a new round of political ads that hit the airwaves this week. Read more here.
With the upcoming runoff, the race is on to get McLeod's portion of Republican votes. McLeod says he's not ready to throw his support behind either Republican candidate. Read more here.
Republican Wright McLeod is asking for a recount in his loss to Rick Allen. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Allen has 26 percent of the vote with 15,438 votes. McLeod has 25 percent of the vote with 14,854 votes. There is a difference of just 584 votes.
Statement from McLeod's campaign:
"Since last Tuesday, I have been overwhelmed by the encouragement that has resonated from supporters throughout the 12th District. Your message has been clear: Don't give up! Our campaign has been awaiting the Secretary of State's official certification of the July 31, 2012 primary so that we would have the best idea of how to proceed. No matter what, we don't want to lose the ultimate goal -- which is to beat John Barrow in November.
Last night, the final numbers posted, and we have remained within 1 percent of our nearest competitor. We have requested that Secretary of State Brian Kemp conduct a recount to ensure that the numbers are accurate.
No matter what the outcome of the recount, we have heard you."
The Richmond County Board of Elections will start the recount at 9 a.m. on Thursday. After the recount, each county involved in the recount will be required to resubmit its vote count to the Secretary of State's Office. Read more here.
The Richmond County Board of Elections releases the list of qualified candidates for the Augusta Commission and Board of Education.
These candidates will be on the general election ballot in November.
District 1: Matt Aitken, Bill Fennoy, Stanley Hawes, Thelonious Jones, Denice Traina
District 3: Mary Davis, Ed Enoch, Cleveland O'Steen
District 5: Bill Lockett
District 7: Kenneth Echols, Donnie Smith
District 9: Harold Jones, Marion Williams
Richmond County Board of Education:
District 1: Marion Barnes, Christy Cunningham, Lucien Williams
District 4: Barbara Pulliam
District 5: Patsy Scott
District 8: Jimmy Atkins, Robert Cheek
District 10: Helen Minchew
Lots of news coming from the Republican 12th Congressional District race in Georgia today.
Rick Allen extends an invitation to Lee Anderson to face off in a series of four debates. The debates would take place before the runoff election on Aug. 21. Allen's campaign has reached out to Anderson's campaign, and they are working to figure out dates, locations and debate formats.
Former contender Maria Sheffield announces that she has endorsed Anderson.
News 12 is still waiting to hear from Wright McLeod's camp to see if they are calling for a recount or if he will bow out of the race.
Allen only had about 500 more votes than McLeod on the night of the Georgia Primary.
Scott Paradise, Allen's campaign manager, released this statement:
"While we would've welcomed the endorsement of Maria Sheffield, we chose not to meet the $50,000 price tag. Over the next two weeks, we'll continue to focus on the stark difference between Lee Anderson, a career politician that voted just last Tuesday for the highest tax hike in Georgia history (TSPLOST) and Rick W. Allen, a conservative businessman who will never cast a single vote for higher taxes."
In the Richmond County sheriff race:
Sheriff Ronnie Strength announces his endorsement for Scott Peebles in the Democratic runoff on Aug. 21.
"Several months back I made the decision not to endorse any candidate for the Office of Sheriff in the primary election.
I had close ties to three candidates in the election and did not think it fair to take a position.
I stated that I would endorse someone after the primary in July.
Today, I announce that I am endorsing Scott Peebles in the Democratic Party run off for Sheriff against Richard Roundtree."
Peebles says the sheriff's letter of support gives him a strong sense of obligation.
"I want to prove to the citizens of Richmond County that I can make this a world-class sheriff's office," Peebles said. "Improve on what Ronnie Strength has already done." Read more here.
The Republican challenger, Freddie Sanders, is already declaring war.
"Whoever ends up winning the runoff," said Republican nominee Freddie Sanders, "we're at war with them. If it's Mr. Roundtree, then we're going to war." Read more here.
In the 12th Congressional District race:
Candidate Lee Anderson has already secured his spot in the runoff, and about 584 votes separate Rick Allen from a third place Wright McLeod for the other runoff spot.
Anderson has three weeks to prepare for a runoff race, but he is feeling cautiously optimistic.
"We won't let up until we beat John Barrow, Obama and send both of them home, and until we balance the budget," he told News 12's Laura Warren. Read more here.
Allen is moving full steam ahead, preparing for a runoff that will take place later this month.
"We're running like we're in the runoff, and we will continue to do that until notified otherwise," he said. Read more here.
McLeod sends out this statement on the status of his campaign for the 12th Congressional District:
"Thank you to all of my supporters who have been so committed and gracious during this campaign. Sheri and I are grateful for all of the hard work you have done to get us where we are today. With 500 votes separating second and third place, we are now considering our next steps.
There are still two outstanding counties with votes uncounted in the race. After the results are finalized, we then have two days to request a recount. At this time, we are leaving that option on the table. I must consider whether or not a recount would be in the best interest of the voters of the 12th District. Our campaign recognizes that requesting such would provide a 'trust but verify' approach to the election results and allow us all to move forward."
Richmond County sheriff candidate Freddie Sanders has won the Republican nomination with 76 percent of the vote. It's looking like a runoff for Democratic Richmond County sheriff candidates Scott Peebles (47 percent) and Richard Roundtree (39 percent).
Lee Anderson is headed into a runoff on Aug. 21 but who his opponent will be is unclear at this time. Anderson got 39 percent of the vote (89 percent reporting), while Rick Allen and Wright McLeod are very close at 26 and 25 percent, respectively.
Alcohol sales passed in Grovetown with 63 percent of voters saying yes.
In Columbia County, Trey Allen is keeping his seat in District 2 after taking 68 percent of the vote, and Charles Allen won District 3 after capturing 72 percent. Another heated race in Columbia County was the position of magistrate judge -- Justin Troiano took 54 percent of the vote over Jason Hasty and Christopher Hudson.
For TSPLOST, it was a pretty close vote. About 54 percent of you voted yes on the penny sales tax toward roadwork, while 46 percent voted against it. One of the big projects on the referendum extends Riverwatch Parkway into Evans, but every county in our area is slated to get some work done. Richmond County is up for nearly 50 projects.
While you're preparing to head to the ballots tomorrow, here's a list of what you could be voting on.
There are two big congressional races, one in the 12th District -- among Republicans Rick Allen, Lee Anderson, Wright McLeod and Maria Sheffield -- and another in the 10th Congressional Race between Stephen Simpson and Paul Broun.
Another is the race for Richmond County sheriff. Democrats include John Ivey, Richard Roundtree and Robbie Silas. Those on the Republican ballot include Freddie Sanders and Mike Godowns.
One of the biggest issues you will vote on is the TSPLOST, or the penny sales tax. This would extend Riverwatch Parkway into Evans, if approved. Richmond County is up for nearly 50 projects.
In the Columbia County Commission race, incumbent Trey Allen is taking on Lee Benedict in District 2, while Butch Holley and Charles Allen battle it out in District 3.
The chief magistrate election in Columbia County is amongJason Hasty, Christopher Hudson and Jason Troiano.
Polls open up at 7 a.m. across 50 different polling locations in Augusta. Polls will close at 7 p.m. If a runoff does occur, that will take place Aug. 21.
For information on your polling locations and to find a sample ballot, click here.
News 12's Laura Warren looked into what you need to know about declaring a political party on your ballot for the primary. Read more here.
In Columbia County:
The race race for Columbia County magistrate judge will ultimately be decided during the primaries. There are three Republican candidates on the ticket with no Democratic opponents, so unless there is a run-off, the winner of Tuesday's primary will be either Jason Troiano, Jason Hasty or Christopher Hudson. Read more here.
In Richmond County:
It is the talk of the town. Is Sheriff Strength's wife calling the shots when it comes to him endorsing a candidate for sheriff of Richmond County? Radio personality Austin Rhodes thinks so. The sheriff's wife's brother, Lt. Robbie Silas, also sat down with News 12 to speak directly to the allegations.Read more here.
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff Freddie Sanders.
More from the interview:
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff Mike Godowns.
More from the interview:
In Richmond County:
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff candidate Robbie Silas.
More from the interview:
One candidate's personal finances almost cost him a spot in the race, and the other candidate says he is running scared. News 12's Chris Thomas talks to both candidates, incumbent Carlisle Overstreet and opponent Willie Saunders, in the race for Superior Court Judge of the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Read more here.
In Richmond County:
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff candidate Richard Roundtree.
More from the interview:
In Columbia County:
Incumbent Charles Allen and newcomer Butch Holley are the two candidates vying for your vote in District 3. News 12's Katie Beasley talked to both candidates. Read more here.
In Richmond County:
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff candidate Scott Peebles.
More from the interview:
In Columbia County:
Georgia's Primary Day is only one week away and a pair of commission races are heating up in Columbia County. In District 2, Lee Benedict is working to take down incumbent Trey Allen. News 12's Katie Beasley talked to both candidates. Read more here.
News 12's Chris Thomas interviews Richmond County sheriff candidate John Ivey.
More from the interview:
Austin Rhodes suggests Sheriff Ronnie Strength's wife is "obstructing justice" in new endorsement controversy. Read more here.
The NAACP hosts the final sheriff's forum before the July 31st election. Read more here.
News 12 hosts the GOP 12th Congressional District Candidates Forum. Read the recap here.
The Columbia County Board of Elections meets to discuss the next step after two voters were caught breaking the rules and maybe even breaking the law.
"In these incidents, a voter, while voting on a touch screen unit, took a picture of the voter ballot and then posted it to a Facebook page," Long said.
One of those voters was Lee Benedict, a Republican candidate running against Trey Allen for Commission District 2. Read more here.
Additional statements are made on the endorsement controversy in Richmond County.
On Monday, a group saying it was Region 7 of the Georgia Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives came forward, announcing its support of Cpt. Scott Peebles in the race for Richmond County sheriff.
On Tuesday, News 12 talked with national NOBLE leaders about the endorsement. Interim Executive Director Joseph Akers says none of the people present during Monday's news conference were not and have never been members of NOBLE. Read more here.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement decides to endorse Cpt. Scott Peebles for Richmond County sheriff.
"This is a very important endorsement for me because there are certain candidates who have tried to make this campaign about race and this campaign is not about race -- it's about who's qualified and who has the sincerest desire to serve everyone in this community," Peebles said.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver announces his support for Scott Peebles.
"Peebles is a friend of mine. I think he's done a good job in his position. Personally, I'm supporting Scott Peebles. I'll say that I don't particularly know the rest of the candidates too well. I think they all have good intentions, but I do believe Scott is qualified to do the job," Copenhaver said.
Richmond County releases a list of the local candidates who qualified to appear on the July 31st ballot:
Augusta District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken announces he's running for re-election. Read more here.
-Former Aiken County sheriff's deputy Jeff Nation says he will not be running for sheriff. Nation announced his candidacy back in February. As of right now, the race is against incumbent Michael Hunt and former law enforcement officer Jim Vause. Both have filed for office.
"After more than a month-long investigatory process of the public's interest in my being a candidate for Aiken County Sheriff, I have decided not to file for the election. Although I have had great interest and support from many, I don't feel that I have the resources available at this time to prevail against the incumbent. I still strongly feel that a change in all levels of the administration is needed to reinstate the honesty and integrity that the citizens of Aiken County deserve. I will leave my website, nationforsheriff.com, open for anyone that would like to contact me with concerns."
-News 12 also investigates why no one has signed up to run for mayor in New Ellenton, S.C. Read more here.
Well-known Augusta Attorney Freddie Sanders tells News 12's Chris Thomas why -- despite the odds -- he is the man to beat in Richmond County. Read more here.
Jim Vause says he is putting his name in the race for Aiken County sheriff. Vause currently owns a private security company and plans to file paperwork on Wednesday.
Attorney Freddie Sanders says he'll be running on the Republican ticket for Richmond County sheriff. Read more here.
Lt. John Ivey announces his candidacy at the Augusta Municipal Building.
Lt. Robbie Silas announces the beginning of his campaign as well.
Aiken County deputy Jeffrey Nation announces he's running for office. His competition, current Sheriff Michael Hunt, has been in office for nine years. -Read more here.
The following candidates register with the Aiken GOP:
Lt. Richard Roundtree made his official announcement on Thursday at the Beulah Grove Baptist Church.
Cpt. Scott Peebles announces the beginning of his campaign outside the steps of the Augusta Judicial Center.
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength announces he is retiring.