Miriam Paris celebrates her recent victory.

The recent local election is a surprising outcome that is largely the result of Macon becoming a one party town.

Mayor Reichert held on to his position by a very slim margin against Jack Ellis. Ellis had run for mayor successfully twice, has been mostly out of sight for 4 years and returned to run again. Robert Brown who had been state senator for many years also ran for mayor and was soundly defeated in the initial election.

Brown’s seat was vacated and was sought by Miriam Paris, a relative newcomer with experience on city council,  and  David Lucas, a very experienced representative with over three decades of experience in the state office.  Lucas was soundly defeated by Paris.

For the readers who are not familiar with Macon, GA, all of the candidates were Democrats and all of the candidates except Reichert are black.

Macon is over 55% black and this group votes so overwhelmingly Democrat that Republicans pose no threat on city wide races.  For the last few mayoral races a Republican has not even bothered to run.

Once the black majority gained and flexed their political muscle the remaining white citizens lamented how racial our local politics had become.  It was like the school yard bully wanting to fight fair only as he was finally about to be defeated on  the playground.

But the experienced David Lucas and Robert Brown and even Jack Ellis were defeated ironically by a lack of political diversity.   The problem with a two party system is that the primaries have tended to be governed by more extreme elements than normally vote in the general elections.  In the absence of a second party, those who would have otherwise voted Republican voted Democrat and thus had a greater voice, some may say a moderating influence,  in the final choice.

For those who wonder what non partisan local elections would look like, you can now see why many partisans have opposed it, and why many citizens prefer it.  I have to admit that I did not miss the normal partisan bickering that plagues most modern campaigns.  The candidates’  rhetoric was more civil than we have come to expect.

Yes there was a Republican candidate in the Paris/ Lucus Senate race, which covers a region beyond Macon and Bibb County, but as expected his vote was just enough to throw it into a runoff. Paris got far more votes than Lucas in the first vote and the runoff.  There were a few Republicans who deluded themselves into thinking their candidate could fight demographic reality to win.  Many more Republicans just voted their choice of the democrat they preferrred.

There is still a racial divide in Macon.  This will become less meaningful as the candidates have come to understand  that they must represent their constituents regardless of race or party and that sound government  is both non partisan and colorblind.