News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It is a question lighting up the airwaves: How low will the race for Richmond County sheriff go?
The Secretary of State's Office is investigating alleged "vote buying" in the race.
"We need to discuss qualifications and issues that impact Augusta." said Republican challenger Freddie Sanders. "That whole situation sounds kind of bizarre to me."
A woman attending a Richard Roundtree for sheriff event at the Dogwood Terrace Public Housing complex claims Jerry Lee Jordan approached her and promised to give her a car if she could find four other people to go with her to the polls and vote for Roundtree.
"Not one time did he say get four or five people, go vote and I will give you a car," said Cushena Jordan. "She said I need a car, and he told her to get a down payment and come see him because she had bought a car from us before."
Jordan says her husband owns a used car shop called U Wanna Ride on Deans Bridge Road.
State officials are now investigating.
"Has anyone contacted you?" we asked Lt. Roundtree who called into our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM with Fattz and Cher.
"No," Roundtree said. "We haven't been contacted at all. It's my understanding that this woman came in sometime last week. This claim was dismissed and then sometime yesterday (8/28/12) the report was leaked to the media. The report was only generated yesterday."
Roundtree is correct. The alleged incident happened on Aug. 18 was reported on Aug. 21. The Sheriff's Office did not complete a report until Aug. 28.
The Secretary of State's Office lists the complainant as the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
"For the Richmond County Sheriff's Department to forward it directly to the Secretary of State seems unfair," said Ms. Jordan, who also called into our radio segment. "My husband's name was put out there. It seems to me, my husband's name is being slandered for political slander. It doesn't have anything to do with her saying that. They are using it to hurt Richard Roundtree."
"It's a non-issue," Sanders said. "I look forward to us getting together and debating what Augusta needs."
That is one thing on which both candidates agree.
"It's only a distraction. We have dealt with distractions throughout this race," Roundtree said. "We have come through them and are going to come through this one fine also. We are going to keep moving forward."
We should note these are serious charges. Vote buying is a felony.
The female who made the initial report, Latasha Nicole Moore, refuses to speak to the media. She says stop "harassing" her.