An independent political committee that aimed to help re-elect Macon Mayor Robert Reichert attracted the support of several City Council members and other politicians, a new disclosure form shows.
The end-of-year disclosure report from Move Macon Forward shows the group spent 99 percent of its $32,750 in donations in the days just before the Aug. 16 mayoral runoff election. The committee backed get-out-the-vote efforts that helped elect Reichert over former Mayor C. Jack Ellis in a close runoff election bolstered by increased turnout.
Move Macon Forward also tried to get Miriam Paris, a former Macon City Council president, into the state Senate. She beat former state Rep. David Lucas for the post vacated by state Sen. Robert Brown.
Move Macon Forward got contributions from people of different political parties and races, and all the money was gathered in less than two weeks.
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The biggest donors included a company owned by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon; real estate developer Roy Fickling; state Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella; The Barnes Law Group of former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes; Blake Sullivan’s Standing Tree LLC, a Macon real estate firm; contracting company Chris R. Sheridan & Co.; former Mercer President Kirby Godsey; and dentist William Argo.
But smaller donations came from people with direct ties to Macon City Council, including then-Councilwoman Jaime Kaplan, and council members Lauren Benedict and Larry Schlesinger. State Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, who now is chairwoman of the Bibb County legislative delegation, also contributed to Move Macon Forward.
Democratic activist Amy Morton, who started the committee with Peake, said it’s not yet clear whether the organization will get involved in government consolidation or other issues, or whether the committee has a future. But such local independent committees will likely become more popular, and Move Macon Forward may have been one of the first in Georgia, Morton said.
“It proved to be a useful vehicle in the summer, and I’m glad various people of all different political persuasions were able to participate in it,” said Morton, who with her husband donated a total of $1,000.
Peake said he thought Move Macon Forward helped make a difference in the races.
“I think Move Macon Forward proved to be effective, and if there’s another cause that’s worth uniting our community for, then, yeah, I could see us using it again,” he said.
Reichert alone spent more than $212,000 on the mayor’s race, about six times more money than Move Macon Forward put toward both races.
Most of Move Macon Forward’s money, about $28,300, went to Winning Connections, a Washington, D.C.-based phone program consultant.
A $10,000 donation from Peachtree Battle Group LLC appeared on earlier disclosure forms but not on the year-end disclosure. Peachtree Battle Group is a consulting firm that aided Move Macon Forward. Peachtree representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.