Two Macon-Bibb candidates qualify on final day

pramati@macon.comApril 26, 2013 

After 20 candidates qualified Monday to run for office in the consolidated Macon-Bibb County government, the rest of the week was relatively quiet at the Bibb County Board of Elections.

After Friday’s noon deadline, the slate of candidates was set for July’s nonpartisan elections: Six will vie for mayor of the combined government, and 24 others qualified to run for one of the nine city-county commission seats.

Two candidates qualified Friday morning just hours before the deadline.

Terry M. Tripp, a 61-year-old former Bibb County school board member, qualified to run in the District 3 race Friday morning against Elaine Lucas and Danny Glover, while Jon Carson, a 64-year-old landlord, qualified in District 5, running against Frank Tompkins and Bert Bivins. Tripp previously served as a member of the Bibb County Board of Education before resigning her seat in order to run unsuccessfully for a seat on the Bibb County Commission.

Of the 30 candidates, 14 currently hold an elected office in either the city or county. In addition, 11 have previously run for office unsuccessfully or have previously held public office. Two of the commission seats -- Districts 1 and 9 -- have just one candidate, while District 7 has the most candidates with four.

Separately, H. Brandon Carlisle, a 27-year-old independent contractor in the construction industry who announced in February that he would run for the District 2 seat, said Friday he wasn’t able to meet the qualifying deadline but still planned to run as a write-in candidate.

And former Macon Councilman Mike Cranford and local activist Irving Martinez also previously said they would be candidates, but neither qualified.

The election is scheduled for July 16, but officials have not received the necessary approval from the U.S. Department of Justice to hold nonpartisan elections. The federal government has until June 2 to decide whether to approve nonpartisan races. If approval doesn’t come, candidates would have to qualify again for an August primary and a Nov. 5 general election.

Early nonpartisan voting is set to run from June 25 to July 12, and Bibb County residents have until June 17 to register to vote.

Should a runoff be necessary, it would be held Aug. 13, officials said.

The final list of candidates who qualified this week:

• Mayor: Joe Allen, 63, a retired firefighter and Bibb County Commission vice chairman; Charlie Bishop, 68, a former Bibb County Commission chairman and retired Macon deputy police chief; David Cousino, 52, a security manager; C. Jack Ellis, 67, a consultant and former Macon mayor; Sam Hart, 71, an educator and Bibb County Commission chairman; and Robert Reichert, 64, attorney and Macon mayor.

• District 1: Gary Bechtel, 52, a Bibb County commissioner and banker.

• District 2: Paul Bronson, 27, a U.S. Army officer and substitute teacher; Henry Ficklin, 63, a retired educator and Macon City councilman; and Larry Schlesinger, 62, a rabbi and city councilman.

• District 3: Danny Glover, 25, an advertising account executive; Elaine Lucas, 62, an educator and city councilwoman; and Terry M. Tripp, 61, a former Bibb County school board member.

• District 4: Mallory Jones III, 65, a Realtor; Beverly Olson, 62, a small business owner and city councilwoman; and Theron Ussery, 69, a former city councilman and manager at AT&T.

• District 5: Bert Bivins III, 71, a Bibb County commissioner; Jon Carson, 64, a landlord; and Louis “Frank” Tompkins, 70, a city councilman.

• District 6: Robert Abbott, 64, a retiree; Ed DeFore, 81, a city councilman; and Adah Roberts, 62, a certified public accountant.

• District 7: Eric Arnold, 38, a software developer; Barry Bell, 50, a golf course manager; Celeste Queen, 59, a homemaker; and Warren “Scotty” Shepherd, 63, a retired law enforcement officer.

• District 8: Regina Davis, 51, a real estate broker; Charles Jones, 59, a pastor and city councilman; and Virgil Watkins Jr., 28, a pre-college advisor and city councilman.

• District 9: James Timley, 68, a retired educator and Macon City Council president.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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