Created: Mon, 23 Sep 2013 09:09:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:55:03 EST
In a called press conference Monday morning, Macon-Bibb Mayoral run-off Candidate C. Jack Ellis denounced the Macon Telegraph for its recent publication of an opinion article by conservative pundit and Mercer University graduate Erick Erickson, calling the op-ed piece "garbage."
In the article Erickson writes that "looking at the precinct turnout and vote, (County Commission Chairman) Sam Hart, and (Mayor) Robert Reichert did a far better job of reaching across the racial divide than either (Former Mayor) C. Jack Ellis, or (Former county Commission Chairman) Charles Bishop."
Erickson also writes that Ellis did not do well in "precincts outside city limits, where many fled during his mayoral administration," going as far as saying that " Reichert does not scare black voters the way Ellis scares white voters."
"It is saying that if I'm elected, white people, all white people should be afraid," Ellis said during his press conference outside Macon's City Hall.
During his press conference Ellis said that white people serve on his campaign staff, and the article serves as an insult to them. He also said nobody should be afraid of him because of his service in the U.S. Military.
"There's nothing in my background, there's nothing in my pronouncement, that would lead any person of any race to fear me, or to think that I would make any decisions based solely on race," Ellis said.
Ellis called for his run-off opponent, incumbent Mayor Robert Reichert, to denounce the article and Erickson.
Mercer University Political Science Professor Chris Grant says the move by Ellis is less about race relations and more about stirring the political pot. Grant says Ellis wants to make black people in Macon feel victimized. That's the only way, Grant says, Ellis can win the run-off election.
"Ellis really needs to get his supporters out, he needs to give them some food for thought that is going to motivate them, and get them out," Grant said.
Grant also says Erickson is "spot on" with his analysis, saying Ellis did a lot of things to burn bridges with both white and black voters while he was in office. Grant says multiple controversial trips to Africa, converting to Islam, and becoming the Honorary Consul General to the Republic of Uganda hurt Ellis chance for election.
"I think Eric (Erickson) knows Macon politics really well, I mean serving on city council, getting his teeth cut here locally in term of politics, I mean he really does understand Macon, he lives here and he thinks about it a lot," Grant said.
WGXA reached out to Reichert's campaign, but did not hear back from it by late Monday night.