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Ballot question on Project Jackson stadium costs clipped from North Augusta primary

Project Jackson

This image shows part of the planned Project Jackson development.

North Augusta won't have a Project Jackson referendum after all.

Walker Posey, chairman of the North Augusta Republican Party, confirmed that the North Augusta GOP – and not the Aiken County GOP – will be administering the February primary.

That means efforts by the Aiken County GOP to place an advisory question on the ballot are no longer in play.

"Everyone meant well, but the North Augusta Republican Club will run our own primary as it has in the past," Posey said. "This really came down to who was responsible for holding the primary election in North Augusta."

Since the election will be run by the North Augusta GOP, there are no plans to incorporate the ballot question voted on recently by the Aiken County GOP.

"You can't have a referendum on a ballot in a primary," Posey said. "I was questioning why you would have a non-binding question when you can have one in the general election."

Michael Bond, deputy director of Aiken County Registration and Elections, said via email that state law does allow for referendums to appear on primary ballots, but requests must come from the jurisdiction in which the election is being conducted.

"The decision to place the question on the ballot must specifically come from the appropriate political subdivision," Bond said. "In this case, it is the City of North Augusta Republican Party making that determination."

The Aiken County GOP approved a measure that would've asked North Augusta Republican voters whether they supported the City of North Augusta committing up to $60 million in public funds for a minor league baseball stadium, which is part of the Project Jackson development.

The question was non-binding, meaning it would essentially poll voters, but not commit the City to any action.

Even if the measure made it on the ballot, it may have been a moot point.

North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover told the Aiken Standard on Thursday that the City hopes to hold final reading on the Project Jackson master development agreement sometime in mid-January, about a month before the North Augusta primary.

Adding the referendum would've also added increased costs.

Bond said the addition of an advisory referendum question costs $600 at minimum, and have at times run as high as $2,400.

"No matter what decision is made by the Republican Party of North Augusta on the matter, our office will provide the resources to conduct a fair election accordingly," Bond said.