Debbie Buckner has been a loyal Democrat.
So, when the Junction City legislator found herself in a political fight with two others in the July 31 Democratic Party primary, Buckner asked for a little help from her Democratic friends and fellow lawmakers.
Carolyn Hugley, a South Columbus Democrat, recorded a robo call that was used in the Columbus part of District 137, Buckner said.
Did Buckner ask Calvin Smyre, the dean of the Muscogee County delegation and one of the most influential Democrats in Georgia, for help?
"I want this real clear," Buckner said before she agreed to answer any questions. "I didn't come to you. I am not picking a fight with Calvin. Our delegation has always been unified and worked for the best interest of Columbus. I want it to stay that way."
Buckner and Smyre have served side by side in the General Assembly for 10 years.
They have seen the Democrats lose control of the House, Senate and governor's office to Republicans in a decade-long power spiral.
After the qualifier, Buckner did answer the question: Did you ask Calvin to endorse you in a campaign flier?
"Yes," she said.
Smyre's response to Buckner at the time: "He said he is running his own race in November, and it is customary to run your own race and stay out of other people's campaigns. He had his own race to run, and I understand that."
Ask Smyre if Buckner asked him and Hugley for help.
"She didn't ask us to do anything," Smyre said.
Then Smyre calls the question a fishing expedition, trying to deflect the question by saying "the campaign is over."
Smyre and Hugley are facing token Republican opposition in November. Buckner was in a real primary fight with two challengers -- Columbus businessman and real estate broker Travis L. Chambers and mental health counselor Ku'Wonna Mahone Ingram. It was a newly drawn district that is majority black and included parts of Muscogee, Harris, Meriwether and Talbot counties.
Buckner won without a runoff on the strength of her showing in Talbot and Meriwether counties. Buckner was narrowly defeated by Chambers in Columbus and lost by just two votes to Chambers in Harris County.
"The endorsement I look for is from the people of the district," Buckner said. "I got that endorsement."
There was a rumor -- and it was just that, a rumor -- that in the wake of the election Buckner might jump to the Republican Party. She would not be the first rural white Georgia Democrat to make such a leap.
"I am a Democrat, and I have always been a Democrat," Buckner said. "It allows me to focus on the issues I care about -- health care, education and the environment."
So this little fishing expedition is now over.
Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, email@example.com.