Former state Rep. David Lucas held a slim lead over state Sen. Miriam Paris early Wednesday in their battle for the state Senate District 26 seat.
Lucas had about 49 percent of the vote, with 12,388, to Paris’ 11,380, or just over 45 percent. A third candidate, Irving Martinez, had about 5 percent of the vote, but plenty of ballots were still uncounted.
Paris and Lucas ran against each other for the first time in a 2011 special election in which Paris foiled Lucas’ attempt to move to the Senate after 34 years in the state House. Should a runoff be needed, it will be held Aug. 21.
This year, Lucas objected to the consolidation proposal that Paris signed as a senator -- and which Macon and Bibb County voters approved Tuesday. He has criticized the term limits for the mayor and commissioners in the proposal, as well as putting the sheriff at the top of consolidated law enforcement.
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However, those would be partisan offices in a consolidated government, something Democrats -- including Lucas -- preferred over a GOP preference for a nonpartisan commission and mayor.
Lucas also said county political mapping would have turned out differently had he been in office. He thinks the new maps passed by the Legislature will cut the number of black elected officials and also take aim at supporters of Bibb County school Superintendent Romain Dallemand.
Paris has pledged to work on foreclosure relief for home-owners, among other items, if re-elected.
The winner faces Republican Bobby Gale in the November general election.
The 26th District now comprises many more rural voters than Lucas or Paris has ever canvassed. It covers all of Hancock, Washington, Wilkinson and Twiggs, plus south Jones, a northeast corner of Houston and much of the city of Macon and east Bibb County.