A new face on Warner Robins council, school improvements for Bibb among election results

Bibb County voters embraced Tuesday an extension of the 1% sales tax to fund $185 million in school initiatives, according to unofficial vote totals.

Meanwhile, there’s a new person coming onto Warner Robins council, with a runoff election in another Warner Robins council race.

A runoff election also will be held to settle a council race in Perry.

Whether to continue the Education-Special Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) for school improvements was the only item on the Bibb County ballot.

The vote was 7,979 yes, or 75.72 percent of the vote, to 2,558 no votes, or 24.28% of the vote.

About 10 percent of 105,062 eligible voters cast ballots on the tax measure, said Board of Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson.

Revenues generated from the tax measure are expected to fund projects including a new elementary school, a performing arts center, improved technology, safety and security systems, new school buses, building renovations and upgrades to athletic fields.

“I think the school system, in general, as well as the community is very excited about the passing of the E-SPLOST,” said Lester Miller, Bibb County Board of Education president. “It reconfirms our commitment to the kids of Macon-Bibb County and the confidence, I believe, that the community has in the school system and its leadership.”

In the Warner Robins council races, one incumbent returns, another was defeated and a runoff election will settle the third contested race.

In the at-large Post 2 race, Eric Langston and Charlie Bibb are headed for a runoff election Dec. 3, according to unofficial election results.

Langston captured 1,474 votes, or 36.83% of the vote, while Bibb claimed 1,345 votes, or 33.61% of the vote, unofficial vote totals show. Stephen Baughier earned 1,183 votes, or 29.56%

A 50% majority plus 1 vote is required for a candidate to be declared the winner in a race with more than two vying for the post.

“I’m thankful for all my supporters who got out there and voted for me and hopefully, they’ll do it again for the runoff,” Langston said. “I’m going to touch bases with my supporters again, continue door knocking, getting out the vote and encouraging as many people as possible that there’s a runoff election on Dec. 3.”

Langston said his key campaign points remain community safety, growth management, integrity and communication at city hall.

Bibb was not reached by telephone for comment by press time.

The winner of the runoff will claim the seat held by Carolyn Robbins, who did not seek re-election. She died Sept. 30.

In the post 4 council seat, challenger Kevin Lashley ousted incumbent Tim Thomas by capturing 59.61% of the vote. Ballots cast for Lashley were 819, that’s 264 more than the 555 cast for Thomas who commanded 40.39% of the vote.

“It was a heavy, heavy ground-based campaign” Lashley said. “We spent hours and hours going to neighborhoods, just knocking on doors, meeting as many people as I could possibly meet ... Just putting in every hour of the day that we could possibly put in ... It all paid off in the end.”

While excited about the support he received, Lashley noted, “I can’t just sit back on my laurels and gloat about a victory. I have to actually ... carry out what I promised them I’m going to carry out.”

Lashley’s pledged to work on transparency in government, keeping the public informed, listening to their concerns, and getting the entire council to work together with the mayor.

In Post 6, incumbent Larry Curtis Jr. won the post by capturing 51.17% of the vote, with 569 ballots cast for him.

“I’m happy. I’m very excited. I am glad that the people had confidence in me to continue to represent them in Post 6 and I’m looking forward to serving them,” Curtis said. “I will continue to be their voice and I will continue to listen to their concerns and put them forth.

“And we’re gonna do the things that I ran on which is ... blight and ... to continue to empower the police department, and we’re going to work on recreation,” Curtis said. “I’m going continue to do it with integrity, commitment … and honesty.”

Closest challenger Jonathan Nichols earned 382 votes, or 34.35% of the vote. The other challenger, Miranda Britt, received 161 votes, or 14.48% of the vote.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity, for those who supported me, and I look forward to what God’s got in store for the next time,” said Nichols, who previously served on Centerville council when he lived there.

Curtis was originally appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Mike Davis, who died in office.

Other contested races

In Perry, John James and Joy Peterson are headed to a runoff election for the District 2 Post 2 seat, according to unofficial vote totals.

Peterson claimed 215 votes, for 39.38% of the vote, compared to 201 votes cast for James for 36.81% of the vote. Closest challenger Jimmy McLeod earned 90 votes, or 16.48% of the vote. Gary Moulliet received 40 votes, or 7.33% of the vote.

The winner will take the seat vacated by William Jackson,who did not seek re-election.

In the Centerville council Post 3 race, incumbent Micheal Evans won re-election by 169 votes, with a total of 388 ballots cast for him and a total of 219 for challenger Susan Lemme.

Meanwhile, a referendum on Sunday brunch alcohol sales passed by 117 votes, with 359 yes votes to 242 no votes.

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Becky Purser has covered breaking news as well as crime and courts primarily in Houston and Peach counties for The Telegraph. She’s now exploring topics that impact the lives of children, parents and the family. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communications/news-editorial sequence, Becky also has covered city and county government for Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia newspapers.
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