The first local candidate forum of the 2006 campaign season was held Tuesday night in Newton County. Sponsored by the Newton Farm Bureau and Piedmont Cattleman’s Association, the event drew three candidates for the 17th Senate District including Sen John Douglas and his challengers. Also attending were Rep. John Lunsford, two other Newton Representatives, Doug Holt and Robert Mumford and Ag Commissioner candidate Gary Black.
The event was well attended with questions taken from the audience and screened by a moderator. Unfortunately, 17th Senate district challenger Mike Crotts had trouble getting his stories straight on two different occasions.
First, he told the audience he had never been challenged in a Senate race before he left that body. Not true. In 2002, he was challenged by Republican Diane Massengale. She drew 4,669 votes or 31.8% of the vote. I am told Crotts, the incumbent Republican Senator was very irritated at having to face a Republican challenger…
Second, Crotts said on several times that he was “gerrymandered out of his seat by ‘vindictive federal judges’ “after he successfully guided the anti-gay marriage bill through the legislature. In fact, the central portion of Henry County where Crotts lives was drawn into the 10th Senate district in 2001 by Democrats doing the 10 year redistricting. When the federal judges drew the maps again in 2004, that portion of the 10th district did not change at all and the boundaries remained identical to what the Democrats had drawn in 2001.