Hart, Allen returning to Bibb County Commission

mstucka@macon.comNovember 6, 2012 

Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart cruised to an easy re-election Tuesday, while fellow Democratic incumbent Joe Allen also easily fended off a Republican challenger to win the commission’s District 4 race.

In unofficial results, Hart drew 40,592 votes to Republican challenger Tom Wagoner’s 21,735 votes, a nearly 2-to-1 advantage with 65 percent of the votes.

Hart said he had stronger support in Bibb County areas that had favored his one-time political opponent, Charlie Bishop, a white Republican. Hart said that suggests the community is moving past racial and partisan lines to pull together, which Hart said is needed as the Bibb County government enters its final year of existence.

County government will be consolidated with those of Macon and Payne City in January 2014. Hart said the county commission will have to help build a new government while keeping the old one running.

“Now it’s time to continue working on things we’re working on,” Hart said, noting he’ll move from election night to a 7 a.m. consolidation meeting Wednesday.

“This community has a tremendous amount of momentum, and I want to preserve that momentum,” Hart said.

While some precincts showed relatively balanced voting totals for Hart and Wagoner, others were strongly polarized.

Wagoner led by a 2-to-1 margin in the Hazzard 4 precinct near Lake Tobesofkee and almost as well in Rutland 2 in south Bibb County, showing the gulf between the candidates is strongly polarized by party. Hart’s biggest margin of victory was in Godfrey 3, around Anthony Road, with his 1,428 votes to Wagoner’s 42 votes.

Wagoner could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

In the commission’s District 4 race, Allen drew 70 percent of the vote in the race against Republican challenger Robert Abbott.

The race matched two men who call each other friends as political opponents. Allen didn’t put out any campaign signs, but he still drew 11,086 votes to Abbott’s 4,746 votes in unofficial results.

Allen said he thought the experienced commissioners would be able to help thread the county through consolidation’s obstacles. The only new member on the board, Republican Gary Bechtel, previously served on the Bibb County school board and will replace Elmo Richardson, who is stepping down.

“We’ve got a long road ahead of us, the 12 months to get the new consolidated government together, and I believe we can do it. I know we can do it,” Allen said. “Every commissioner’s got a lot of work ahead of them.”

Abbott, who was making his first run at political office this year, vowed that it wouldn’t be his last. He plans to run for a seat in the consolidated government.

“I’m going to run for District 6 next year, and you can quote me on that,” Abbott said. “My district will be different next year, and I knew what I was getting into when I went down and qualified” this year.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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