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Two Warner Robins council races headed for runoff

WARNER ROBINS — Voters will have to go back to the polls on Dec. 4 to decide two of the city council races and exactly what the changing face of the Warner Robins City Council will look like.

Bob Wilbanks easily won the Post 4 seat, but the Post 2 and Post 6 races will require a runoff to pick a winner.

In Post 6, Councilman Doug McDowell will again face John Williams, as neither candidate got a majority of votes cast in the three-person race. McDowell finished with 231 votes to Williams' 207 votes, while Cora Fells-Gibson drew 154 votes to finish third and out of the running.

The crowded Post 2 race was so tight that absentee votes and early voting ballots had to be tallied to decide which two of the four candidates will meet in the runoff.

Thomas Simms Jr. led the pack with 657 votes, followed closely by Hank Winner with 595. Scott Trantham finished a very close third, but out of the race, with 539 votes. Jason Whittington finished out of the money with 259.

The Post 2 seat was left up for grabs when veteran Councilman Dean Cowart decided not to seek re-election.

Wilbanks, 48, is chief of security at Middle Georgia Technical College and focused his campaign on increasing greenspace and heightening police protection.

Wilbanks had 385 votes to Boor's 158 and Oglesby's 94 votes in the Post 4 race.

In the Post 2 race, Simms, whose father Thomas Simms Sr. served as Post 6 city councilman until his death in 2005, focused his campaign on controlling traffic and crime as well as creating programs for the youth and for seniors.

Retired Air Force general Winner, 66, ran on a platform that centered around long-range strategic planning for the city's growth and more stringent code enforcement.

Trantham, 39, said during his campaign that he wants to see more managed growth and the rehabilitation of older neighborhoods.

Post 6 incumbent McDowell won the office in 2005 by defeating Williams to fill the late Councilman Simms' unexpired term.

McDowell, 41, said he was instrumental in strengthening code enforcement policy and the establishment of the Urban Redevelopment Agency. Williams, 63, campaigned on his concerns about crime, traffic and economic development near Robins Air Force Base. Williams is executive director of Rebuilding Together, which rehabilitates homes for low-income property owners.

For more on this story, come back to macon.com or read Wednesday's Telegraph.

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