ERICKSON: Election nerves

October 11, 2013 

Having received much mail for the runoff and read a newspaper article about the early voting turnout, I still had to look up when the actual runoff election is. Early voting has changed so much, the campaigns wish you to vote now and forget to tell you the actual election is Oct. 15, 2013.

C. Jack Ellis, judging by early turnout, has done an admirable job getting out his voters to the Bibb County Board of Elections for early voting. No one should underestimate him as a strategically sound politician when it comes to campaigning. Jack’s problem has never been elections. It’s been governing.

The question we are all waiting to answer is whether that fear of Ellis’s governing abilities drives up Robert Reichert’s vote to the polls. Regardless, everyone reading this in Bibb County should remember that if they are otherwise eligible to vote, they can vote in the runoff.

The last time Ellis and Reichert met, the runoff turnout actually went up from the primary. I think most people expect that to happen this time, too. It would actually be somewhat surprising if it didn’t. Many people sat on the sidelines, some forgot, and others were too busy with their lives to go vote Sept. 17. Now a host of emotions animate them.

One thing animating Ellis’ supporters is my claim that voters in north Macon, particularly white voters, are more likely to fear his return than black voters are to fear Robert Reichert’s return. This is a statement of indisputable fact no matter the number of op-eds and letters to the editor written in response to that statement.

There are other runoffs, too. Henry Ficklin vs. Larry Schlesinger is one to keep an eye on. Ficklin and Elaine Lucas would play off each other to the detriment of the county. That race has turned quite ugly with a lot of anonymous attacks on Schlesinger for daring to lead. This one is too close to call.

Mallory Jones vs. Beverly Olson is probably going to be a sleeper with Jones winning. I do not know Mallory Jones, but he may be the hardest working retail politician in Bibb County. I see his signs everywhere, him driving around everywhere and just plain working it.

Ed DeFore and Adah Roberts will be interesting. I have a soft spot for Ed DeFore but must wonder if, with the transition to a new government, it is time for a fresh start. Charles Jones and Virgil Watkins is another interesting race to watch. I like them both. One great difference though is that, while Charles Jones and I often disagreed on council, he seemed much more likely to be his own man and not have to poll the crowd or zeitgeist to take a position.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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