In the three-way District 7 race for the Macon-Bibb Commission, W.F. “Scotty” Shepherd won the seat with 58 percent of the vote.
Shepherd, 65, led competitors Eric Arnold and Barry Bell throughout the night. Arnold followed Shepherd, with Bell trailing in last.
“It’s good to hit a win column,” said Shepherd, who ran unsuccessfully for sheriff twice in the past.
Shepherd tallied 2,157 votes. Arnold garnered 877 votes and Bell had 678.
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Shepherd said he has nothing but respect for Arnold and Bell. He said he hopes they will remain active in the political process.
It had been anybody’s game in District 7, with no incumbents on the ballot.
“I want to thank all my supporters, my lovely wife for putting up with me through all of this, and I’m really looking forward to continue working to make Macon a better place,” Arnold said.
When asked if would run again for political office, Arnold said, “If I see where the county needs me, absolutely.”
The race marked the first political campaigns for Arnold and Bell.
There were no conflicts among the candidates during the campaign. In fact, Arnold and Shepherd hung out together election night at the Porter Ellis Community Center on Houston Road. Bell stopped in for a while with his son, Oakland, after a baseball game before going home to spend the rest of the evening with his family.
“I simply got in this because I know we can do better,” Bell said. “I hope and pray we elect the people who can work together. We should be a prospering community, not a divided community.”
All three candidates touted their experience to help the new government save money by working efficiently.
Shepherd, a retired veteran of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, proposed taking a look at fully privatizing county services such as trash collection.
Arnold, 38, a computer programmer and software developer, campaigned on utilizing technology to engage the public.
One of his ideas was to streamline the application process for business licenses and permits.
He also utilized social media through Facebook to get his message out and had his own campaign website.
Bell, 51, owner and manager of Oakview Golf Course, focused on curbing waste.
One proposal Bell brought to the table was reducing the need to cut the grass on government properties as often by spraying for weeds. He also talked about the need for improved time management.
District 7, which follows along Interstate 75 through south Bibb County, includes a substantial chunk of undeveloped land. The district has highway access to interstates 75 and 475 from the Hartley Bridge Road and Sardis Church Road exits.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.