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Oglesby: Remembering 4 more community giants

POSTED: March 27, 2012 1:00 a.m.

A prince of a man who endured much in always good spirits and a fellow deacon at Lakewood Baptist Church died since last we visited.

Dennis Higgins worked at the Hall County Library at the reference desk until health forced him to retire. He could walk only with a walker the last years of his life, never complaining. Besides their own children they adopted several. He was always giving to the end.

Dawson County lost a good public servant and true visionary when former commissioner and mayor Joe Lane Cox died. I first met him through GOP politics. At the time Dawson County was thoroughly Democratic; Cox one of just a handful of Republicans. He was a generous political contributor personally but wasn't an active party builder, leaving that to me contacting people there he recommended and them taking it from there.

Now Dawson is a solid GOP county. He controlled the county patronage under GOP administrations.

We were longtime friends. Another friend of my age and fellow golfer Stan Davidson also died. The difference in our games was he was good, me only average with only two rounds in the 70s until my two strokes and degenerative arthritis in my lower back caused a balance problem. I have to use handicapped carts and can play only 9 holes at a time.

Finally, former fire chief Verner "Sug" Hamrick died. "Sug" was a colorful character and a motivator in every way. He got upset once because I wrote a Tribune story (with picture of the hose hooked but slack) and editorial critical of the department because a fire plug that hadn't been inspected in years malfunctioned as they arrived at a fire.

He told a local clothier who supplied the uniforms if he advertised any more in the Tribune, he'd take the business away from him and give it to someone else. When the clothier told me that, I wrote about it, too.

Despite his occasional angers at my stories and editorial criticisms he was pleasant and supportive the rest of the time and remained friends.

Mitt Romney continues to increase his delegates earned and is more than halfway to the number need to cinch the nomination with a number of big states like New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California to go.

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul continue to fight to keep him from gaining a majority before the convention. Gingrich and Paul say they'll stay in to the end (presumably unless Romney gets that majority before the end).

If they are successful in keeping a majority from him, it'll become a broken convention. Delegates are pledged to vote those won by the candidates for the first two rounds, but after that, it'll be roll call vote after roll call vote as the candidates and their delegates make deals and compromises until a nominee is named. Then that nominee picks his running mate, perhaps as the result of a deal.

Mitt Romney must be given the edge. As his delegate lead increases, it could create a "get on the bandwagon" effect. The other three will be doing all they, their Super Pacs, campaign staffs, volunteers and supporters can to force a brokered convention.

Based on experience in governing at the national level as House Speaker, I think Gingrich, despite his heavy, heavy baggage (a lot misrepresented and outright false), is the most qualified candidate and the one most likely to defeat Obama.

Paul has no chance. I don't think Santorum can win the general election. It comes down to between Gingrich and Romney unless a noncandidate is drafted.

Then comes the VP selection. It appears Marco Rubio of swing state Florida or the nonsurvivor between Romney and Gingrich will be the running mate.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion page editor of The Times. You can reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column, in its 53rd year, appears biweekly on Tuesdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint.


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