Further Thoughts on the Election in Macon

&#8220[T]he blacks had shown they could grow up and change. The whites will have to do the same at the next election. And so they will.&#8221

Those of you outside of Macon who read Peach Pundit are aware of Macon’s problems if only due to my own blogging. Just under 48 hours after the election the enormity of what happened on Tuesday is still being considered.

Here’s the nutshell: for the first time in many years just about a majority of City Council will be new. There is a runoff between two incumbents vying for the same seat. One of the two has only been there for a year, due to a special election. Two other runoffs will decide races, but whoever wins will be new.

Put another way and in light of recent events, every single person who supported the hotel deal and had opposition lost. Every single one. Willette Hill-Chambliss is the only one who may survive, but that’s tenuous at best. She’s running against Miriam Paris who voted against the hotel.

And then there is the Mayoral race. Up until a few months ago I thought Robert Reichert could get out of it without a runoff. But no one else did and I changed my mind. I figured the Randall machine could get a runoff going and potentially beat Reichert.

But, Reichert won.

My wife and I both voted for him. I said back in November or so that I supported him, despite having told Lance Randall before Reichert even got in the race that I’d support Lance. The sheer force of Reichert’s experience over Lance persuaded me otherwise. But by Easter, Lance and I had talked and I told him I’d support him, but even a week later it became increasingly clear that this was not a commitment I could keep, though I refrained from saying anything publicly to contradict the statement, Christy and I put a Reichert sign in our yard, a bumper sticker on my car, and sent him $200.00.

That Reichert was able to pull off his election without a runoff and that the Randall family machine was not able get get Lance even into second place is quite impressive. In fact, Anita Ponder’s second place showing shows that the city really has woken up and craves experience.

This is one of those elections where truly the best people did win in each and every single race.

Certainly I was disappointed that my friend Keith Moffett came in third in Ward 1, Post 1, but Rick Hutto outworked everybody and Keith, at the end of the day, did not do much. The guy who worked the hardest won and that’s appropriate.

On the Republican side, I’m very disappointed that Arlan Gibson did not win. I intended to vote in the Republican primary while Christy crossed over to vote for Reichert. But, when I found out I wasn’t even on the ballot, I joined Christy in the Democratic primary. Frankly, I thought part of Arlan’s loss came down to race. And I mentioned that to a few friends who did vote in the Republican primary and to a person they all were surprised to learn Arlan was black. All they knew is that he’d only recently moved here and had gone bankrupt in 2005.

So, there are runoffs coming. Miriam Paris, Tom Ellington, and Gerald Harvey will need help. And then there’s the pretend November election where I’ll be voting for the Democratic nominee for Mayor, not the Republican. And then city council comes and Macon can finally start healing.

A friend shared with me a conversation from Tuesday night at the Board of Elections. A wise man and community leader down there said, when about half the precincts were in, that the blacks had shown they could grow up and change. The whites will have to do the same at the next election. And so they will. And so Sam Hart will run against Charlie Bishop and we’ll be back to it.

For now though, we here in Macon can breath a little easier.

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Erick Erickson

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2 Comments

  • I am still in shock about these election results. After the last two elections in this city, I had completely lost faith in the ability of voters inside the city limits to choose a leader based on merit. I was part of the evidently huge crossover from traditional Republican voters, and I am very glad I supported Reichert. I may not agree with him on every political issue, but he was far and away the most qualified candidate to turn this city around. I can honestly say that this result has restored a great deal of my confidence in the people of this city.

    I regret that Arlan Gibson didn’t get more support. He seems like a good guy, but a Republican simply has no chance of winning the general election. The bottom line is that Macon needs the best leadership it can get at this critical time. That has to outweigh supporting the growth of a political party – especially when party politics means effectively nothing at the local level.

  • I felt Arlan Gibson was a nice guy but this is the only thing he had going for him. He was not a Smart enough person to run for Mayor of Macon. His responses were all rehearsed and not from the heart and were not really his own responses. I felt he was saying what he felt people wanted to hear. He also filed bankruptcy in 2005 and his response to this was less than an attractive one. First of all if you had problems paying your bills, “YOU HAVE TOO MANY BILLS TO BEGIN WITH!” Second, Most people have enough money to pay off their bills in 401k, retirement plans, etc (by the time they reach Arlan’s age) if they ran in to this type of health problem. Third, considering JUST these few things Arlan was not the choice for me. Macon needs an educated man or woman to head up and head off the problems of this community. Not a person that wants to play Mayor. I feel Riechert can do this. Arlan just did not have what it takes and I think the Macon public saw this as well.
    Rob Jones