This has been a tough week for Rome City Commission Ward 3 candidate Bonny Askew. His wife of nearly 40 years, Adrianne, is hospitalized with heart issues and he’s splitting his time between a busy week of campaign forums and meet-and-greets as well as caring for her.
Now add to it a controversy over Ward 3 incumbent Craig McDaniel’s statement at Tuesday night’s candidate forum and Askew’s daughter’s Facebook comment on that statement — and the grief she’s getting because of it, mostly because of where she works: The Rome-Floyd Chamber.
Tuesday evening, The Theta Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. in Rome sponsored a forum of City Commission candidates at Thankful Baptist Church. During the forum, McDaniel was quoted as saying parts of Rome look like a “Third World country.” This has been confirmed by those attending the forum. We have emails into McDaniel seeking an expanded take on what he said.
Askew’s daughter, Taylor Ritchie, later posted on her Facebook page that “Craig McDaniel thinks there are neighborhoods in Rome that ‘look like Third World countries.’ That’s a quote. How does that make you feel as Romans? Your elected official thinks Rome looks like a Third World country but hasn’t done anything to make it better.”
For clarity purposes, Ritchie’s dad is one of five people seeking three seats in Ward 3. The three canidates receiving the most votes on Nov. 5 win; there is no runoff. Also running are incumbent Mayor Bill Collins and Rome attorney J.J. Walker Seifert.
Here’s what McDaniel posted in response to Ritchie’s original post:
“As a past chairman of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce I am shocked and amazed that an employee of the chamber would openly criticize an elected official and take only a snippet of a forum and use it to paint me in a negative light.
“To those people who quickly jumped on her bandwagon of drama, I will gladly meet with you individually and discuss what I have contributed to this community over the past forty years.
“Any candidate, incumbent or aspirant, running for elected office in the City of Rome or Floyd County should be cognizant and concerned about the demise of many of our older neighborhoods over the past two decades.
“I will meet with anyone to discuss to issues affecting Romans. 706-676-5092. Cmcdan1953@aol.com.”
Ritchie indeed is employed as programs coordinator at the Rome Floyd Chamber. She posted this comment on Wednesday morning:
Askew had this to say on his personal Facebook page:
What’s next: It will be interesting to watch how it plays out at two candidate meet-and-greets set for Thursday: From 4 until 7 p.m. at The Foundry Growler Bar and then at the Floyd County Democratic Party meeting at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority.