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25 Candidates Qualified for Macon-Bibb Races

4:53 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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Former Bibb County Commission Chairman Charlie Bishop and current Chairman Sam Hart qualified Tuesday to run for mayor of the new consolidated government.

They join Mayor Robert Reichert, former Mayor C. Jack Ellis and Commissioner Joe Allen in the mayoral contest.

Three others qualified for district seats on the new commission. Commissioner Gary Bechtel qualified for the District 1 seat in the new government. So far, Bechtel is the only candidate for the position.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Beverly Olson and former Councilman Theron Ussery qualified for the District 4 seat. Real estate executive Mallory Jones qualified for that position Monday.

The first day of qualifying featured three previously mentioned mayoral candidates, three previously unannounced candidates and one family emergency. In total, 20 showed up to qualify.

The pace slowed on day two with Bishop and Hart joining the mayoral race and Bechtel, Olson and Ussery qualifying for district posts.

The qualifying fee for mayor is $3,000. It's $450 for commission candidates.

Reichert qualified Monday afternoon. Allen and Ellis qualified  that morning.

Reichert, an attorney and former state representative, is in his second term as the city of Macon's mayor.

Allen is a current Bibb County commissioner, a retired firefighter and longtime organizer of Christmas charity Kids Yule Love.

Ellis is a former two-term mayor of Macon who announced his candidacy on July 31, the night consolidation passed. He ran for his third term in 2011 against current Mayor Robert Reichert, but lost in a runoff by only 537 votes.

 

A previously unannounced candidate, Celeste Queen, qualified Monday to run for the District 7 commission seat. Little is known about her except that she lives in South Bibb and is the wife of Pastor Rodney Queen of Central Fellowship Baptist Church. She said she was leaving town immediately for a week to visit her son, a U.S. Marine stationed in California.

Scotty Shepherd also qualified in the District 7 race. He's a 30-year veteran of the Bibb County Sheriff's Department, who made two unsuccessful runs for sheriff, one in 2004 and the other in 2008.

Regina Davis qualified in the District 8. Last year, she ran for the Macon Water Authority but lost to incumbent Javors Lucas by 60 votes. She is a real estate agent.

A third newcomer came to qualify at the end of the day Monday. Eric Arnold, a software developer for GEICO, will also run in the District 7 race. That district covers parts of south Bibb County.

And Danny Glover showed up to qualify in District 3, but had to leave without completing his paperwork, saying that his grandmother was ill. Glover is running despite facing a misdemeanor marijuana charge filed against him in Jones County in January.

Glover returned to the Macon-Bibb Board of Election's office and qualifed for the position Monday afternoon

He'll face Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, who qualified for the position Monday morning. 

She has served for more than two decades on city council and has vocally opposed changes to the consolidation bill that allow anyone to run in any of the new districts as long as they live there by the start of the qualifying period, which was Monday.

Another change to consolidation came after voters passed the plan last July: non-partisan elections. Though the plan passed during this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly, the Department of Justice is reviewing it. 

They have until June 2 to approve or reject the plan for non-partisan elections. 

Candidates interested in serving in Macon-Bibb County's new consolidated government have until noon Friday to qualify.

13WMAZ's Randall Savage and Katelyn Heck, who have identified 22 announced candidates, will be following qualifying daily.

Non-partisan elections are scheduled for Tuesday, July 16.

That's when voters will, for the first time, elect a new Macon-Bibb County mayor and a nine-member commission.

Quailfiers so far:

Mayor: Joe Allen, C. Jack Ellis, Robert Reichert, Sam Hart, Charlie Bishop

District 1: Gary Bechtel
District 2: Henry Ficklin, Laurence Schlesinger
District 3: Elaine Lucas, Danny Glover
District 4: Mallory Jones, Beverly Olson, Theron Ussery
District 5: Bert Bivins, Frank Tompkins
District 6: Charles Abbott, Ed DeFore, Adah Roberts
District 7: Scotty Shepherd, Celeste Queen, Barry Bell, Eric Arnold
District 8, Virgil Watkins, Regina Davis, Charles Jones
District 9:

Check back for updates on 13WMAZ.com and on Eyewitness News.

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