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Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 12:53pm

Even Racial Split Ends in Augusta

Updated: 4 years ago.
Matt Aitken became the newest Augusta Commissioner on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Facebook and Matt Aitken campaign.)

A swearing-in ceremony today in Augusta has ended a decade-long racial balance on the city's governing body.

For more than a decade, the Augusta Commission had an even racial balance with five African-Americans and five whites.

The racial split is significant, since consolidation of Augusta's city and county governments in the 1990s was done in part to create racial parity.

But in December, voters in the predominately black District 1 elected Matt Aitken, who is white, as their commissioner.

The split is now six whites and four blacks.

Some of Aitken's opponents have argued that blacks would not get fair representation with the new split.

But Aitken disagrees.

"If you look at the demographics of Augusta, and especially District 1 and they voted me for office, that kind of shoots that out of the water...that I can't represent them because they elected me," he says.

Some of Aitken's fellow commissioners, black and white, have said they don't expect Aitken's election to create a solid white voting majority on the commission.

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