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.


  1. Erick says:

    I think the new council will look at the hotel again. I think there will be a majority to do that.

    As for priorities, I see a few shaping up:

    1. The Airport and an expanded airport authority.

    2. The financial situation in the city.

    3. The landfill and what to do about it. The Mayor-elect wants to raise sales taxes by a penny to pay for shutting it down. I can’t go along with that, but think we might be able to find the money to do it.

    4. Consolidating city and county services for businesses.

  2. gatormathis says:

    I saw yo picture in the paper yestiddayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (on the road to being “heavily” quoted I presume)

  3. Doug Deal says:


    Do you remember the results for the Melton/Ellis race in 1999? For some reason, I cannot find the results on a web search. They said the Macon turnout was 40% (with 40,000 registered, thats about 16,000 voters) for this election, I was interested to see how this compared to last non-incumbent mayor’s race.

  4. Jmac says:

    Thanks Erick.

    Consolidation is good in theory, but the devil is in the details. Our consolidation in Athens-Clarke County has been largely successful, but there are still serious concerns involving equal distribution, or even extension, of services to some of the northern, more rural parts of our tiny little county. Plus I’m personally frustrated with the lack of flexibility in choosing a sanitation company in Athens proper.

    But, then again, these are being addressed, but worth mentioning. I know Augusta-Richmond County has had some growing pains.

    Still, it’s ultimately a wise move for more communities to consider it. Good to see your support for some element of it (though I must admit, I don’t know much about Macon politics).

  5. katurner says:

    Either the youngsters in the press were too lazy to look around or they were wanting Cousino to beat Gibson so their man Reichert would win. Thus they sat on the bankruptcy.

    Cousino’s toast. If he can’t pay less per month for a house than to rent in a halfway decent neighborhood…. And he ought to think about whom he works for and how it’ll translate into income potential.

    We haven’t heard much details on a future Macon from Cousino. So why should I vote for him?

    Everyone be nice to Reichert because he’ll be mayor and you might need him someday.

  6. Bill Arp says:

    Erick – get off the macon races….only you care so much about the armpit of georgia. I hope the council and mayor work to make it better than the embarrassment that it is today…..please find better news…

  7. Icarus says:

    Bill Arp,

    If we don’t keep a watch on Macon, more pig killin will continue:

    Ga. Deputy Shoots Gator the Pet Pig
    MACON, Ga.

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