A write-in push to oust Macon City Councilman James Timley fell well short of the mark Tuesday, but by exactly how much wasn't available from the Bibb County Board of Elections.
Elections officials apparently went home without posting write-in challenger David Corr's vote total to the elections Web site, as they had said they would. Attempts to reach Elections Supervisor Elaine Carr on her cell phone and at home were not successful.
Steve Allen, who chairs the Bibb County Board of Elections, said he didn't have final numbers with him at home late Tuesday, but that Corr couldn't have topped 25 percent. That's roughly the last total Allen saw for all write-in votes, he said.
So, instead of the sensational win Corr had hoped for, Timley's decision not to campaign much — or even particularly acknowledge Corr's challenge — was validated. He tallied 7,379 votes. That's far less than totals for any of the other four citywide council members, none of whom were opposed, but was more than enough for the win.
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Timley, who has served on the council since 1999 and is the current council president pro tempore, did not return repeated telephone messages seeking comment Tuesday evening. But he said from the beginning that Corr wouldn't be able to mount much of a challenge.
Corr, though disappointed in the loss, said he was pleased to put up a good vote total and generate more buzz for the Libertarian Party, of which he is the local chairman. He said he set a personal best in fundraising with more than $3,000. He also hit pulled roughly the same percentage of vote he won during a 2003 write-in push against Mayor Jack Ellis. He said the similar results proved that votes in the 2003 election weren't simply anti-Ellis votes, as many people said they were.
"Now we see I can get it against anybody, I believe.". ..." Corr said. "Twenty-five percent again is not bad for a write-in."
This time out Corr tried to capitalize on his well-known aversion to taxes, as well an anti-hotel, anti-incumbent trend voters showed during this summer's primary elections. He referred to Timley as a socialist, citing the incumbent's willingness to vote for tax increases and his vote to build a hotel adjacent to the city's convention center — a deal that's been popular with some, decidedly unpopular with others and controversial nearly across the board.
"It's disheartening to me that 75 percent of the voters in this city are in tune with socialism. ... " Corr said Tuesday evening. "He voted for every property tax. He votes for a hotel deal (that's bad for the city). You can call it what you want. Certainly not a person that believes in freedom."
Beyond his core supporters, Corr also benefited from the backing of a politically active group of city residents against the widening of Forest Hill Road, who lobbied for the write-in. But it wasn't nearly enough.
As a write-in candidate, Corr's name did not appear on the ballot, and Timley's did. But Corr said he tried to educate voters how to vote for him, and he put signs up all over town asking people to write his name in. In the end, Corr said he was glad to "have gotten our libertarian message out to more people than ever before."
"I'll keep fighting," he said. "I'll stay active. Whether I'll ever run again or not, obviously, it's still too early to tell."