Saturday, October 11, 2008

Judge Hunton Sacrifices His Son

"Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." - Genesis 22:9-10

Washington County Judge Jerry Hunton told Quorum Court members this week that he is contemplating using eminent domain to condemn and raze on six houses near College and Spring to build a parking deck. Judge Hunton hired George Faucette, a real estate agent, to contact the property owners, but they either did not want to sell or wanted too much for their lots, including one with a historic home built in 1885.

Judge Hunton told the Morning News that since he is not running for reelection it allows him to make an unpopular political decision that he feels is in the county's best interest, as if he thinks a politician would avoid hard decisions during a reelection campaign. Jerry seems not to care that his son, Earl Hunton, is running for State Representative on his dad's reputation and name recognition and says, "I don’t mind telling you I am going to try and follow in his footsteps." That leaves him wide open to be tarred with the eminent domain brush by his opponent, incumbent Mark Martin, who professes to be a staunch defender of property rights. It is a close race, and this could make the difference by throwing red meat to the rural Republicans.

Judge Hunton had already caused some political problems for young Earl when he decided to get involved in the Fayetteville Mayor's race. Jerry and his real estate prospector George Faucette were among the speakers at Dan Coody's campaign kickoff in July and constantly on CAT since that time. A number of longtime Democrats wondered why Hunton, who doesn't live or vote in Fayetteville, would interject himself into such a hotly contested local campaign. Dan Coody has never been active in Democratic party affairs. One of Coody's opponents is a member of the Washington County Democratic Committee, and another held statewide office as a Democrat for a decade. Jerry's poor judgment has reportedly cost his son some sizable campaign contributions from traditional sources.

Judge Hunton should have sacrificed a goat instead of becoming one by sacrificing his son on the alter of his own political ambition.

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