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Rhodes supports Auld in runoff

Edged out of the House District 106 runoff, Garry Rhodes is casting his support to Warren Auld.

Rhodes, who received about 27 percent of the vote during the Aug. 30 special election, endorsed Auld in his rematch with Melvin Everson.

Voters will choose between Auld and Everson, both former Snellville City Council members, on Sept. 27.

"After careful reflection, I have decided I can no longer sit idle. I must support the most qualified, most informed, most articulate and the most honest spokesman for the 106th District," Rhodes said. "I strongly encourage everyone that supported me to determine the best remaining candidate. I believe you will agree the obvious choice is Warren Auld."

Everson, who hopes to become the second black Republican elected to the General Assembly, has support from much of the GOP's top politicians.

In fact, controversy arose when Rhodes said the county party Chairman Gregory Howard asked him to endorse Everson.

Party officials usually stay out of races between Republicans, and Howard said he remained neutral and that Rhodes misunderstood his request.

The Grayson insurance businessman said he was concerned that making his endorsement could cause political retribution, especially since he is a bidder for a new benefits contract with Gwinnett County government. But he decided to work for Auld on Wednesday.

Rhodes said he will campaign door to door and make phone calls for Auld.

Auld, who received 31 percent of the vote in August, said he hoped to combine his voters with Rhodes.

"His voters are very motivated and I believe they will get out," Auld said. "It's made a pretty good day for me."

Everson's campaign manager Buzz Brockway took a dig at Auld when commenting on the decision.

"We congratulate Mr. Rhodes on the kind of race he ran, but we're a little surprised at the endorsement considering his fiscal conservatism," Brockway said. "This doesn't change our strategy. We're going to continue to take Melvin's message on lowering property taxes to the voters of District 106."

Local link to Roberts' confirmation

Gwinnett County received a mention in Washington on Tuesday during the confirmation hearings on U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked the chief justice nominee about a Supreme Court case involving the county school district.

In 1992's Franklin vs. Gwinnett County Public Schools, a North Gwinnett High School student sued under the Title IX sexual discrimination statute, after her economics teacher coerced her into having sex with him at school.

The district knew about the incident, but allowed the teacher to resign and closed the investigation, according to court documents. The girl sued the school system for damages, but her complaint was originally dismissed on the grounds that Title IX does not authorize an award of damages.

While working as a deputy to Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, Roberts wrote an amicus brief - a friend-of-the-court brief - urging the court not to grant compensation. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the girl, holding that Title IX does allow damages to be collected.

Leahy used the case to ask Roberts about his position on civil rights, particularly women's rights.

Roberts said he found the situation abhorrent, but that the court had not yet decided on whether damages could be sought from Title IX cases. Since then, he said, there has been a solid precedent allowing damages to be sought in such cases.

- Staff writer Arielle Kass contributed to this report.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com .