Lucas fends off Tripp for District 3

mstucka@macon.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas has defeated Terry Tripp in a close election for the District 3 race.

In unofficial returns, Lucas drew 1,926 votes to Tripp’s 1,530.

Lucas said she’s pleased with her supporters but wishes more voters came out.

“It’s a tough race. I wish that the turnout had been better, but people who decide to take part in an election, those are the ones that make decisions,” she said.

The tallies were strongly polarized by precinct. In East Macon 3 and East Macon 5 precincts, Lucas beat Tripp in a 2-to-1 margin. In Rutland 2, however, Tripp won with an 11-to-1 margin.

Tripp said she wouldn’t rule out another run for politics, but she offered her support to Lucas.

“I want to wish Mrs. Lucas the best and hope she can do the things this district needs,” Tripp said.

Lucas’ last race, in 2011 against political newcomer Chris Horne, was close. She drew about 51.9 percent of the vote in that race.

Many of Lucas’ political allies won’t appear on the Macon-Bibb County commission. In unofficial, incomplete results, Council President James Timley lost to Al Tillman. Councilman Henry Ficklin appeared to be moving toward a runoff election behind Councilman Larry Schlesinger. Two other frequent Lucas allies, Councilmen Lonnie Miley and Rick Hutto, did not run for election in the new government.

District 3 covers all of eastern Bibb County, from pieces on the Jones County border on the north to the Houston County line on the south. It’s largely outside the city limits in east Macon, which Lucas has represented for years.

Lucas and Tripp both have records of public service, but Lucas, 62, has been on City Council for nearly three decades. Tripp, 61, served on the Bibb County school board from 2000 to 2006 and previously ran for county commission.

As voting entered its last hour, Lucas’ husband, state Sen. David Lucas, made his way into the campaign headquarters off Cotton Avenue to wait for his wife to return from a City Council meeting.

Tripp left her own headquarters just a few miles away, on Gray Highway, to head home for a clothing change -- red, white and black, she said, about as patriotic as her wardrobe allowed.

Tripp told The Telegraph she just wants to see the election process work its way out.

“We’re hoping that if the voters got out and voted with their hearts, then they’ll get the representation they want,” she said. “Of course, I’d love for it to be me, and I’m sure my opponent feels the same way.”

At St. Paul AME Church, voting was sometime slow during the day. Just 411 of 1,514 registered voters had turned out by 6 p.m.

Among them was Cincotta Tatum, who said she cast her votes for familiar faces: Lucas and former Mayor C. Jack Ellis.

“I just like a lot of her views and don’t know a lot about Ms. Tripp,” Tatum said.

Another voter, Leroy Bundrage, said he knew all the candidates and declined to say how he voted. But Bundrage said he expects more out of both the new government and its residents.

“We have to make it work,” said Bundrage, a Scoutmaster. “As citizens we have to hold our officials accountable.”

Writer Jim Gaines contributed to this report. To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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