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Wake Up Macon


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How Did Robert Reichert Win The Democratic Primary In Macon’s Mayoral Election?




By Amanda Smith



Good question indeed.  As Macon contains a 60% / 40%, black to white population, respectively, one would expect a black mayor to have won the Democratic primary on July 17, 2007.  After all, whites vote white and blacks vote black, right?  Past elections have certainly backed-up that presumption.  This fact was demonstrated when African American Lance Randall ran for the seat of Chairman of the County Commission in 2004, and beat Bob Fountain, who is white, hands down (Fountain didn’t carry a single black precinct). As it turned out, Randall lost the general election to white Charlie Bishop in November as whites came out in droves to vote Bishop into the seat.


Or how about the 1998 mayoral race between Caucasian Buck Melton and African American C. Jack Ellis?  Melton didn’t carry a single black precinct, thus Ellis became Macon’s mayor and has served in that capacity until now (two terms).


So what happened this time around?  We asked a couple of the mayoral candidates and others and this is what they had to say:




Anita Ponder: “I think it was a combination of things falling into place.  First, I think the strategy of Republicans switching over to the Democratic primary played a significant role.  Secondly, when you look at the amount of money Robert raised; he was able to practically become a household name; he was able to get the message out and keep it out there.  Thirdly, five people running caused a vote split; in fact, I talked to several people who were so confused that they had decided not to vote at all.”





Larry Schlesinger: “I think, either people voted for his message or they wanted change, or both.  This election really transcended racial lines.”









Tom Hudson:  “Robert Reichert had a grass roots, wholesome campaign and he reached people on all levels.  He was out in the community among the voters and they felt a connection with him.  Macon is a diamond in the rough and Reichert has the ability to polish that diamond and bring our community to new heights.”





Elaine Lucas: “It was a combination of things – overwhelming white support coupled with sizable black support all across the city.”








Bob Fountain, Sr.:  “Reichert got horrendous crossover Republican votes and secondly, he cultivated relationships with the black community that paid major dividends.”





Robert Reichert: “I think that I was a candidate that was known and trusted; I have the reputation and the track record and I had the right message at the right time.  We really need to get past the “them vs. us” mentality and embrace the idea of working together for the good of Macon.”




You are Visitor #  Hit Counter   Updated Wednesday April 05, 2006 12:40:42



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