Four of the six mayoral candidates for the Macon-Bibb consolidated government faced off in a forum Thursday night.
Former Bibb Chair Charlie Bishop, local businessman David Cousino, former mayor C. Jack Ellis, and current mayor Robert Reichert attended the closed debate recorded for the Cox Cable government channel.
Bibb commissioner Joe Allen was at his grandson's graduation and could not attend. County Chairman Sam Hart was also absent due to a prior commitment.
The four fielded questions for about an hour.
When asked about moving Macon-Bibb forward, Ellis answered, "Macon was moving forward, especially when I was in office." He then blamed part of what he perceives as the city's downfall on the loss of the Music Hall of Fame, which he eluded was Reichert and Hart's fault.
Cousino responded saying he believes people need to elect new faces to get different results.
Reichert proposed that moving the consolidated government forward would take electing an "advocate, of whom they can be proud, that sets the right example, that advocates for them."
For Bishop, moving faster on SPLOST projects would put the city in the right direction.
The candidates were also asked who they would support if they had to unexpectedly drop out of the race. Cousino answered that he would back Bishop, while Reichert chose Hart. Both Bishop and Ellis said they will not even consider leaving the race and would not choose a candidate.
This is the first of several debates scheduled for the mayoral candidates and those vying for the nine commission seats.