Georgia House race one of state's most spirited - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia House race one of state's most spirited

August 16, 2002

Three Lee County Republicans are in a tight race for their party's nomination in the newly-drawn 137th District that covers five counties.

All three candidates know this vote will be very close.

The campaign for the Republican bid for House District 137 has been one waged beside highways and roads across Southwest Georgia. Former Marine and Real Estate Businessman Darrel Ealum, former journalist and conservative talk show host Ed Rynders, and businessperson Ida Chambers have campaigned from television ads to standing by the road waving signs for months.

The race is projected to be very tight, to represent the new district that covers part of Lee, Dougherty, Worth, Colquitt, and Thomas Counties. Ealum, who lost a Congressional bid in 1996, stresses his leadership. "It's resume. We have the Marine Base. I served two tours as a Marine Officer, and it's extremely important we retain the Marine Base here. I think college is important. We have a highly educated District. I have a Masters Degree. A businessman, I have a business in four of the five counties that make up the district."

This is Ed Rynders' first time running for political office. Rynders says his top issue is cutting out waste in state spending. Rynders has attacked Ealum for his residency, saying he moved into the district just for the election. "Because I think it shows a pattern to do anything to run for office. And we need to be able to trust our elected officials. This is not the first time."

While the two men in the race have fired volleys at each other, Ida Chambers says she is staying away from mud slinging. Chambers has worked in political functions most of her life, through her father and husband. Now 80 years old, Chambers says she is running for office for the first time to try and help the district.  "Because I think I can make it a better place for your children and my children to live in. And that could be my last chapter."

Darrel Ealum, Ed Rynders, and Ida Chambers have campaigned endless hours for the Republican bid for the State Representative's job. Most think the vote will be close, with a run off a good possibility.

Craig Mathis is the only candidate for the House District 137 seat in the Democratic Primary.