City candidates vie for votes at political forum

Published 7:47 am Friday, October 22, 2021

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Davontae Hunt, candidate for Cordele City Commission Chairman, speaks at the Crisp County Political Forum Thursday as his opponent, incumbent chair John Wiggins listens. Photo by Neil McGahee

John Wiggins, incumbent Cordele City Commission Chairman, speaks at the Crisp County Political Forum Thursday as one of his opponents, Davontae Hunt listens. Photo by Neil McGahee

Isaac Owens, candidate for the Ward Three seat on the Cordele City Commission, outlines his ideas at the Crisp County Political Forum Thursday. Photo by Neil McGahee

By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

The candidates almost outnumbered the audience at the Crisp County Political Forum Thursday at the old Crisp Middle School auditorium.

The forum, sponsored by the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce, afforded an opportunity for the nine candidates in the Cordele municipal elections to meet the 21 voters that attended.

“We at the Chamber wanted to give the audience a chance to hear from the candidates,” said Chamber director Monica Simmons. “We did broadcast it live on Facebook so I am hoping a lot of people saw it there. We usually don’t have a very big turnout for these races unless it is a presidential or congressional election.”

Each candidate was allowed four minutes to encapsulate the prominent points of their campaign. Each candidate expressed his own ideas of what he thought the Cordele City Commission should be.

Aside from an occasional dig, no mud was slung.

The final speaker was Crisp County Assistant School Superintendent Brandon Williams who encouraged voters to approve the educational special-purpose local-option sales tax (E-SPLOST) measure appearing on the ballot.

“I was kinda surprised that there weren’t more people here,” said the incumbent Chairman John Wiggins. “But that’s what the last one was like too.”

Ulysses Morgan, Jr running for the Second Ward City Commission seat expressed his disappointment at the meager turnout.

“We need to get on the ball and get people interested in their community and their city,” he said. “This lack of attendance shows either a lack of interest or you already know who you’re going to vote for. You can’t complain about something if you don’t attend.”

Commission chair challenger Davontae Hunt said he was troubled by the poor turnout.

“People don’t seem to value local elections,” he said. “But local elections is what determines how your daily life will go.”

At least one candidate had a positive outlook about the poor turnout.

“I was disappointed by the turnout,” said Ward 3 candidate Don Cole. “But the good thing was the time before and after the forum allowed us to meet people. I’m just glad for those who were here.”

Early voting will continue through Friday, October 29, with Saturday voting on October 23 at the Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office, 210 South 7th Street.