On your mark: The race to the primary finish has begun

April 25, 2014 

The election season of 2014 has arrived, sprouting yard signs like spring dandelions. In some quarters, both are equally unwelcome. This election season (with early voting starting Monday) will conclude May 20 and is earlier than most mid-term elections. One of the first orders of business by the 2014 General Assembly was to move the election up. Lawmakers are barred from raising money during the session, and they raced through the 40 days so they could hit the campaign (fundraising) trail.

There are federal (Senate) and several statewide offices in play in the primary, including governor. While there are many reasons given for the date change (to coincide with federal election dates) the most pressing one seems to be the desire to give whomever is the Republican nominee for the seat held by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss enough time to recover from a bruising primary battle in time for the General Election. That race has attracted three Republican congressmen, a former gubernatorial candidate and three political newcomers. On the Democratic side, there are three candidates.

There are also several local races on the primary ballot. Republicans John Kennedy and Spencer Price are seeking the District 18 seat vacated by Cecil Staton and on the Democratic side, David Lucas and Miriam Paris are in a rematch for District 26. Former Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards is challenging incumbent James Beverly for the state House District 143 and Gerald Harvey is challenging Nikki Randall, the incumbent in District 142. A newcomer is challenging Allen Peake in District 141 Republican Primary. There are also three Macon Water Authority seats to be decided in non-partisan races, one for chairman; two Bibb County Board of Education races and a contest for Civil & Magistrate judge and

As is our custom, the Editorial Board, assisted by our Citizens Advisory Board, is interviewing all of the local candidates and many of the statewide candidates. In the next few weeks, starting Sunday, we will be making our recommendations. It is a serious endeavor and the public panel that helps us come to consensus are hardworking, informed and dedicated volunteers. We spend many hours, late into the evening, interviewing and then deliberating. Some of the outcomes may surprise. In all of the races, our intention is to advise our readers who we think would do the best job representing our area. That said, our endorsements should only be part of the body of work voters should review before stepping into the ballot box.

While we are the most advanced voting population on Earth, we are also the most complacent. Our biggest disappointment is that fewer people take the time to vote. In the last mid-term election in 2010, voter turnout in Bibb County for both Republican and Democratic primaries was 24 percent. In Houston County, it was 16 percent. Will this primary season be different? We hope the outcome surprises.

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