Macon City Councilman Larry Schlesinger edged Councilman Henry Ficklin in one of Tuesday’s most hotly contested runoff races for the new Macon-Bibb County Commission consolidated government.
Schlesinger beat Ficklin by just 27 votes, winning 1,710-1,683.
Ficklin said he would ask for a recount and thought vote totals were low in the Godfrey 1 precinct.
“It was a tight race, and I’m going to be asking for a recount,” Ficklin said.
Schlesinger said because the vote was within a 1 percent margin, legally there has to be a recount.
“I feel confident that the numbers presented by the board of elections are accurate,” he said.
The race was a see-saw affair most of the night, with the candidates swapping the lead more than once when results were posted on the Bibb County Board of Elections website.
Schlesinger said he was up for 22 straight hours Tuesday and was on pins and needles waiting for the final absentee ballots to be counted.
He said his first goal in his new post will be helping set priorities.
“We’re going to set priorities as a team and look to Mayor (Robert) Reichert for a leadership role,” he said. “We’re going to set some goals for the first 90 days.”
The race between the two candidates seemed testy, especially during the past week. Ficklin accused Schlesinger of a two-year-old ethics violation while serving on the council, but Schlesinger noted that he had a letter from Attorney General Sam Olens that said he did nothing wrong. Ficklin responded that Schlesinger got special treatment from Olens, because both men are Jewish. Ficklin later said he wasn’t being anti-Semitic, because he was talking about the Jewish faith, not Schlesinger’s race.
“I think it’s an absolutely outrageous statement that does have prejudicial overtones,” Schlesinger said last week.