Cecil Staton’s election to the State Senate was the first race I ran on my own. He really got me into political consulting. I’d helped with his congressional race in 2002, expanding my role over the year of that race. We made it to the runoff, but lost. Two years later, Cecil asked me to take the reins on my own for his State Senate race.
This morning, as Buzz noted, he is announcing his retirement from the State Senate.
Cecil, and his wife Catherine, are good friends. Over the last decade, Staton led a number of efforts in the state legislature, including the 2005 voter identification law. Here in Middle Georgia, he was fairly instrumental in helping the Mercer Medical School continue to get money from the state to fund rural doctors.
Cecil was not a natural politician. The aw-shucks baby kissing that comes so easily to others wasn’t really his thing. He is a policy guy. He is a small businessman. He understands those issues and excelled at working on the policy and legislation around those. I consider Cecil Staton a friend and I want to publicly thank him (for better or worse) for giving a kid a break and getting me into politics in a way I had not previously been involved. I’m not the only one out there who benefited from his generous spirit.
The race he leaves behind already has two challengers — Spencer Price, a doctor from Thomaston, and John Kennedy, a lawyer from Macon. Both were in the race before Staton’s departure. Kennedy is actually a good friend of mine. With Cecil not in the race, I’ll definitely be supporting John Kennedy. He has already raised over $50,000.00 and has been working really hard behind the scenes reaching out across the district.
Suddenly the 18th district becomes a serious race. And I hear it won’t be the only Senate district in play due to a retirement.