The initial leaders of the new consolidated government could look very much like the old leaders of city and county governments. While we won’t know for a couple of months when the election will take place or exactly when qualifying will begin and end, some of the candidates are announcing now while others are content to let the rumor mill draft them or discourage them. Here’s what we know now. Remember, it could all change with the next news conference.
The old saw, “Out with the old and in with the new,” doesn’t apply to the candidates running for mayor, or for that matter, any of the other district offices. Mayor Robert Reichert, 64, announced his intention Thursday to run, as did former two-term Mayor C. Jack Ellis. 67. County Commission Chairman Sam Hart, 71, announced late last month. Bibb Commissioner Joe Allen, who said he would not seek a district seat, has hinted he’s going to try for the top spot, but he’s also hinted at running for chairman of the Macon Water Authority. Go figure. Former Bibb County Commission Chairman Charlie Bishop, community activist Al Tillman and David Cousino, who has run twice before, have all talked about running for mayor. Don’t count Cousino out, after all, he did draw 214 write-in votes last time out.
In District 1, Gary Bechtel, 52, who joined the commission in January will run again. No opposition has announced.
The District 2 race is shaping up to be a barn burner with Councilman Henry Ficklin, who will be 64 in May; Councilman Larry Schlesinger, 62; and Brandon Carlisle, a 27-year-old construction contractor and political neophyte.
District 3 has Danny Glover, who ran for City Council in 2011 when he was all of 23, will face Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, 62, who has served on council for a quarter of a century.
Mallory Jones, 65, who lost in the primary to Bechtel, will try again in District 4, this time against former City Councilman Theron Ussery, 69, who served on City Council almost 20 years, but hasn’t held elected office since 1995; and Beverly Olson, 62, the Ward 5 City Council representative in her first term.
Bibb Commissioner Bert Bivins, 70, is the only announced candidate for District 5. He’s served as a commissioner for 18 years.
The District 6 race will feature the longest serving local elected official, Councilman Ed DeFore, 81. DeFore has served half of his life on council. His opponent, Robert Abbott, is 17 years his junior at 64. Abbott ran against Allen in the last election.
District 7 will bring a taste of the old and new. Mike Cranford, 67, who served two terms on council, will face Eric Arnold, 38, a newcomer to politics.
As of yet, no one has announced for District 8 and District 9, but that’s sure to change. Only three faces of the 17 announced, are new and have never held elected office. Fourteen are 60 years of age or older. Let’s hope the Apostle Paul was right when he wrote the Corinthians: “Old things have disappeared, and -- look -- all things have become new.” Somehow, we don’t think the consolidated government qualifies for that scripture.