It’s OK to vote Democrat

July 20, 2012 

A large number of my Republican friends are concerned. They want to vote for Miriam Paris. They want to vote for David Davis. They want to vote for consolidation. But they want to vote for Gary Bechtel, too. They want to vote for Cecil Staton. What do they do?

Take a deep breath.

It is OK to vote Democrat. Really. It is. If you want to vote for David Davis, you can only do so in the Democratic Primary.

Cecil Staton has other counties besides Bibb to pick up his vote. We know from historic voting patterns that there will always be enough Republicans who absolutely will not cross over that Staton and Bechtel should be safe. The most hardcore of the Republicans will vote for those two.

Voters, whether Democrat or Republican, will vote for or against consolidation. It does not matter which ballot a voter chooses in Bibb County. Everyone will vote on that question. If consolidation passes, any vote you might have cast for a county commission race will not matter much. If consolidation passes, the county commission seats will be short-term seats and those elections will be re-contested.

The sheriff’s race, however, will remain. Remember, under consolidation the sheriff will be the chief law enforcement officer in Bibb County. There will not be a new election for sheriff if consolidation passes. Whoever wins now will be sheriff whether consolidation happens or not.

It makes the vote in that race even more crucial.

Then there is Miriam Paris’ race. Many of us thought David Lucas was put out to pasture last time. But he is trying to head back to the Legislature -- and not just to the Legislature, but to the Senate. This past year has been the most harmonious in our local delegation’s tenure.

Nikki Randall, who also deserves re-election, has worked to build bridges in ways not possible while Lucas was in the House. Having him move to the Senate where he alone could veto local issues would be a terrible thing. Paris has been a strong and steady senator for our area. I do not always agree with her votes, but then we did not always agree in the City Council. But we are friends and I admire her so much.

A lot of my Republican friends will accuse me of political blasphemy. That is how I know there will be enough to stay within the Republican Primary. But a lot of my friends, like me, have no idea why we must have a partisan sheriff’s race, district attorney’s race, coroner’s race, etc. For now, that’s what we have to deal with. And for now, we often must make tough choices about the primaries we will be voting in.

This is nothing new. Every presidential election year, Rutland rednecks, North Macon nouveau riche and Idlehour Republicans wring their hands over the social stigma of asking for a Democratic ballot in public.

It is what it is. I’m not sure which primary I will vote in. I know I will vote for consolidation. I also know those of you Republicans worried about the future of the county should not think twice about voting Democratic. It is your right and your choice.

The question you must ask yourself is very simple -- if consolidation passes, and I hope it does, do I want to vote Democratic now and ensure my choice of sheriff or do I want to vote Republican and have to do this all over again next year?

The choice is yours.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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