Three candidates in Republican primary for Chatham County Commission Chairman

Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis (D) has been a mainstay of the Savannah political scene for decades. He narrowly lost the mayor’s race in 2003 to Otis Johnson, but the next year he was elected to his current post with 58 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2008 with 68 percent.

But Liakakis’ dominance in those races was more about personality than party, and it’s entirely possible that a Republican will take the chair this fall. An effort to remove the two-term limit failed miserably last year (65 percent to 35 percent) despite Liakakis’ personal popularity.

Three Republicans with solid name recognition and impressive resumes are facing each other on Tuesday in the race for county commission chair: Walter Crawford, Eddie DeLoach, and Billy Hair.

All three have political experience — Hair even held the chairmanship from 1997 to 2004. DeLoach held the 7th district seat on the commission from 1993 to 2000. Crawford was mayor pro tem of Tybee Island from 2002 to 2004. All three have solid private sector experience too.

To my surprise, the Savannah Morning News chose not to make an endorsement in the 3-person race, but would seem likely to make an endorsement if there is a runoff. Here’s a quick look at each of the candidates by reporter Eric Curl: Chatham commission chairman, district candidates talk on issues

I don’t have a clear sense of how the primary will shake out, and I haven’t seen any public polling. Al Scott is running unopposed on the Democratic side. Despite an impressive resume of his own, Scott might have benefited from some primary opposition just to heighten his name recognition.

Any Savannah readers out there with more insight into the race than I have?


  1. Thomas Waters says:

    Apparently, Walter Crawford was an embarrassment to Tybee Island during his time in office there, and no one I’ve encountered views him as a serious candidate, if they even know who he is. This little gem, filmed at a 2003 Tybee city council meeting, shows me all I need to know about the guy.

  2. fishtail says:

    Al Scott, the Democratic candidate for Chair of the Chatham County Commission, has been quietly building his bi-partisan support among Savannah’s business leaders. If he keeps it up, he will be the winner in November. Al’s Campaign Chair is Steve Green, a former Savannah Democrat who has morphed into a big GOP operative. Steve Green is on the GA Ports Authority, the GA Power board and is a paid lobbyist for Morris Manning law firm. You gotta hand it to Steve, he will” hunt with the guy who has the gun” and it is telling that someone with good political instincts from the GOP side is now backing the Democratic nominee for the Chairman’s job. Al Scott is a former State Senator and Labor Commissioner. He is now a retired executive from Union Camp Corp and has been quietly working very hard to line up support. In my opinion, he is the best of the lot.

  3. Mama Bear says:

    Steve Green is his campaign chair?? Steve Green who is a partner with Simons Political Group?? Doesn’t Simons Political Group work for Eddie DeLoach???

    • fishtail says:

      See the disclaimer at the bottom of Al Scott’s bio, which comes from his web site….says “Steve Green, Chair”….. … to Simon Political Group, I am unaware of Green’s involvement….I do know for sure from a news article about 4 months ago that Steve Green announced he was becoming a non-attorney “advocate” for Morris Manning law firm…I interpreted that to mean “lobbyist”.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    An interesting race to watch tomorrow will be the First District County Commission race between Helen Stone and Jeanne Seaver. Seaver has gone after Stone on her voting record and Stone has vacillated all over the place on said record.

    Said record indicates Stone has voted over 94% of the time with the Democrats on the County Commission. Additionally, during Stone’s tenure on the Commission, spending has increased by a whopping 54%. Stone voted to remove term limits for the Chairman’s position.

    What didn’t come out though was Stone’s contributions to Democrat Sen. Lester Jackson and her acceptance of freebies from El Paso Energy – the proponents of trucking liquified natural gas through the city which caused quite a stir of opposition.

    I predict that race will come down to less than a 100 vote difference.

  5. oompaloompa says:

    that’s a pretty hilarious prediction considering Helen Stone has the endorsement of leadership in every level of Ga state government, including Attorney General Sam Olens.

    Bull Moose leaves out the fact that he is still sore at Helen for not backing him more in his unsuccessful race for city council against Mary Ellen Sprague.

    Considering Seaver could not speak complete, coherent sentences on the Bill Edwards radio talk show when questioned on her platform by callers, I predict a landslide victory for Stone.

  6. Bull Moose says:

    Oh oompaloompa do you type this from your cozy government job or are you taking leave to do all that campaign work? Did you fundraise while on the state payroll? That’s a big no no.

    Anyway. I digress.

    I liked Stone a lot when she ran and won in 2004. Defended her on many fronts. However, since 2010 she’s voted like a Democrat, voted for all the bloated budgets, contributed to democrats, and taken over $500 in lobbyist giveaways for galas from LNG trucking proponent El Paso Energy.

    Those are not the actions of someone who claims to be a “conservative republican”.

    Alas, the race is over and I was wrong. Oh well… Who gives a f…!

  7. oompaloompa says:

    Funny thing you calling someone out on being “like a democrat” considering the candidates you have supported recently.

    As predicted….Stone by a landslide.

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