Qualifying update: Benedict to run for Macon council

Friday is the last day to qualify for Macon's July primaries, and so far the Republican and Democratic ballots are filling up pretty much as expected.

Lauren Benedict was the only person to file for office today, qualifying to run as a Democrat in the Ward V Post 1 race, which is elected citywide. With Filomena Mullis deciding not to seek re-election, Benedict is the only known candidate for the office.

In fact, most of the 15 City Council seats won't be contested unless unannounced candidates come out of the wood work Friday — something election junkies might call a "Friday surprise."

For the most part, it's the incumbents who are unopposed. But because of council members deciding not to seek re-election, Benedict and Erick Erickson could become first-time council members without competition in Ward V, and Larry Schlesinger could replace Anita Ponder in Ward III's citywide seat.

Of course, there is also a chance new candidates will file as independents later this month, and skip the July 17 primaries.

As for Friday, long-time Councilman Henry Ficklin said he plans to qualify to run for mayor. He announced that intention some time ago, but seemed last week to be considering a run for re-election to his Ward III Post 3 seat instead.

"I'm not reconsidering," Ficklin said today. "I've got the experience. I've got the time in."

Republican Arlan Gibson is also expected to qualify for the mayor's race Friday.