Bechtel wins Bibb District 3 commission race

Gary Bechtel defeated his Republican opponents in the Bibb County Commission District 3 race Tuesday night.

With all 13 precincts reporting, Bechtel garnered 3,142 votes, followed by Mallory Jones III with 2,420 votes and former Bibb County Coroner Ed Bond with 606. With no Democrat running for the seat and by getting 50.9 percent of the vote, Bechtel avoided a runoff and will take the seat outright when the results are certified Thursday.

The three candidates battled for the seat currently held by Elmo Richardson, who announced he wouldn’t seek another term. Richardson endorsed Bechtel for the seat.

“On your best day, you hope to have 50 percent plus one vote,” Bechtel said. “That was what my goal was during the entire race. It was a good, clean campaign, and Ed and Mallory did a great job in getting voters out. I’m looking forward to them contributing and giving it another shot.”

Bechtel, a current Bibb County school board member who has filed a lawsuit against Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand over privacy violations concerning Bechtel’s son’s academic record, thinks the lawsuit might have helped his campaign.

“I think the people who voted for me admired that a board member was standing up to what was perceived as bullying,” he said.

Bechtel, 59, is the vice president of special assets at Certus Bank. He has served on the Bibb County school board for the past 12 years. His term is up at the end of the year, and he couldn’t run for the school board again because of term limits.

Bond, 77, served as a Macon city councilman from 1970-74 and later as Bibb County coroner from 1991-2005. Jones, 65, is a real estate broker who was running for office for the first time.

All three candidates held similar positions on most of the key issues, including consolidation, the transportation special purpose local option sales tax and the county budget.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.