Schlesinger, Ficklin headed to October runoff

mstucka@macon.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Macon City Council veterans Larry Schlesinger and Henry Ficklin are headed to an Oct. 15 runoff to decide who will continue his political career with a new government.

Schlesinger, who started election night dead last in a three-way race for Macon-Bibb County’s District 2 commission post, surged in late returns to grab 1,234 votes, about 42 percent of the unofficial votes that included early and absentee vote tallies.

Ficklin, a 30-year council veteran, got 1,149 votes, and Paul Bronson, who’d previously run for mayor, came in third with 530 votes.

Schlesinger, 62, a six-year council veteran, came in third place in three districts, but he won strong majorities in the East Macon 4 and Howard 4 precincts.

“We knew that our strong points were Howard 4 and East Macon 4, so we were waiting for those to come in,” Schlesinger said.

District 2 isn’t easily defined. Parts of it stretch northwest, north, east and south of downtown, including parts of Houston Avenue and the Fort Hill neighborhood. A Telegraph analysis puts the district at about 66 percent black and 31 percent white.

Ficklin, 64, has been on City Council for 30 years. On the other end, Bronson, 28, has run for office before but has never been elected.

Ficklin is a retired Bibb County teacher and leads Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Bronson resigned as a Macon-Bibb firefighter to run for mayor in 2011, and Schlesinger is the rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Macon.

Schlesinger said he didn’t yet have a plan for the four weeks until the runoff. But he said his theme of bringing new jobs to Bibb County, providing safe neighborhoods and working with the school system to improve education seems to resonate with voters.

“I’m going to get to work tomorrow morning, obviously, but I don’t know that I’ve got a specific plan,” Schlesinger said Tuesday night. “That will probably develop over the course of the next few days.”

Schlesinger said it wasn’t too unusual to face another incumbent because consolidation is pushing the Macon and Bibb County governments from 21 elected officials to 10.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 213-4742.

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