MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Monday marks the first day for candidates to qualify for the July special nonpartisan election for the new Macon-Bibb County government.
"We are enthusiastic about this, we're fired up, we're ready to go, so why wait?" mayoral candidate C. Jack Ellis said.
That's why dozens of hopeful candidates running for office under the new consolidated government showed up to the elections office on day one of qualifying week.
"We recognize that this is probably the most difficult political campaign that we have had to date, so we are mounting a good campaign and look forward to putting out a positive message about the future of our community," Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said.
As of Monday afternoon, the race for mayor is down to three: Ellis, Reichert, and county commissioner Joe Allen.
"I know how to run a business. I know how to run a business on short windfalls of money. I've proven I can, I will. And when I become mayor, we want to work together as a team," Allen said.
Several current city and county leaders threw their names in the race for one of the nine district commissioner seats. They say their experience will help lead the new government.
"It's going to be so very important with the new form of government that we have people who don't need on the job training, that we have people who are ready to hit the ground running," Macon City Councilwoman and district three candidate Elaine Lucas said.
While newcomers say it is time for change.
"We need new ideas, we need fresh eyes to look at this community," Mallory Jones, candidate for district four commissioner, said.
As of 3 p.m. 18 candidates completed the qualifying paperwork at the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections office.
Mayor: Joe Allen, C. Jack Ellis, Robert Reichert
District 2: Henry Ficklin, Larry Schlesinger
District 3: Elaine Lucas
District 4: Mallory Jones
District 5: Bert Bivins, Louis Tompkins
District 6: Robert Abbott, Ed DeFore, Adah Roberts
District 7: Barry Bell, Celeste Queen, Scotty Shepherd
District 8: Regina Davis, Charles Jones, Virgil Watkins
The special nonpartisan election is scheduled for July 16 pending approval by the Department of Justice. Nonpartisan elections were passed during this year's legislative session. The elections office expects notification from the DOJ concerning their determination before or by June 3.
Qualifying runs this week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday. The qualifying fee for mayor is $3,000 and the fee for commissioner is $450.