Warner Robins candidates use Election Day to thank voters

chwright@macon.comNovember 5, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Polls have closed across the midstate, and candidates are now beginning to gather with friends, family and supporters to watch the results.

Earlier Tuesday, the candidates used the day to take a breath after months of campaigning.

“This has actually been an easy day,” said Chuck Chalk, Warner Robins mayoral candidate.

Chalk’s sentiment was mirrored by four of his opponents. They said Tuesday is more about thanking supporters and volunteers than selling a platform. As they stood among other campaign teams, the candidates waved, smiled and reflected on the past few months.

“I’m really pleased it’s been a clean race,” said former Councilman Mike Brashear, holding a sign at Feagin Mill Middle School. There has been “no mud-slinging.”

Brashear, Chalk, retired Public Works Director Joe Musselwhite and former firefighter Randy Toms said most voters have likely made up their minds who they’ll select by the time they see the candidates waving signs near precincts.

Chalk spent the day taking coffee, food and drinks to volunteers. He has had 70 volunteers help the campaign in the past few months. The rest of the candidates also spent their days at the city’s six precincts, making the rounds sometimes twice by late afternoon.

“Today is about thanking people for their support,” he said, as a car drove by honking to get his attention at Houston Mall.

For the first time since signing the paperwork for the race, the stress of selling their respective messages is much lighter.

“I’ve been working 10- to 12-hour days since (qualifying),” said Musselwhite, standing amid other candidates at Feagin Mill Middle School. “Whatever happens, today is a relief.”

The candidates said turnout didn’t seem to be very high on the heels of a higher-than-expected early voting period.

“We’ll see tonight,” Chalk said.

Earlier Tuesday, mayoral candidates Toms and Daron Lee stood along the same sidewalk near Houston Mall with the wife of City Council Post 1 incumbent Mike Daley and other campaign supporters.

Toms spent some time reflecting on the road to Election Day. He said he has met people who approach him and say, “You’re the Toms?”

He said such encounters with people he has never met but still support his message is humbling.

“Win or lose, I’ve made an impact,” Toms said.

Still, the sign-waving he’ll do Tuesday won’t really impact the race’s results, he said. The goal is much different than that of the last few months.

“Today is about thanking people for their support,” he said, as a car drove by honking to get his attention.

Though about 15 campaign volunteers cheered and waved signs outside Feagin Mill Middle School, voters weren’t rushing in. Poll workers said turnout was somewhat slow, with perhaps 200 votes cast by late morning.

Poll workers guessed many of the District 4 residents cast ballots in early voting and more would appear in person after they finished the day’s work.

At the recreation department precinct, which in included District 5, traffic was steady at about 4 p.m. but there was no waiting. Volunteers stood on the opposite side of Watson Boulevard and waved at voters.

In Warner Robins, more than 2,500 of the 43,715 registered voters already have cast ballots during the three-week period leading up to the election.

Writer Mike Stucka contributed to this report. For more on how Election Day is shaping up in Warner Robins, follow reporter Christina M. Wright on Twitter@WrightNow86. Also use #WRelection.

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