Macon-Bibb County mayoral candidate C. Jack Ellis on Monday denounced a recent column in The Telegraph by pundit Erick Erickson as race-baiting, and called on incumbent Mayor Robert Reichert and other community leaders to repudiate Erickson.
“That’s what we should be afraid of, my fellow citizens,” Ellis said, brandishing a copy of Friday’s paper during a news conference on the porch of City Hall. “We should be afraid of people who say things like this.”
He described the column, headlined “Scaring all the white voters,” as an attempt to suppress black voters and make whites turn out for Reichert. Ellis said no one had reason to fear him, and that as mayor he did all he could to bridge racial divisions.
“Many white voters supported me,” Ellis said. “This is an insult to them.”
Reichert did not respond to several calls seeking comment Monday.
Telegraph Publisher Don Bailey said Monday that Erickson is a longtime contributor to The Telegraph’s opinion page and that page’s purpose is to encourage community conversation. Contributors’ statements aren’t necessarily the opinions of the paper’s editorial board, Bailey said.
Telegraph Opinion Page Editor Charles Richardson said candidates can’t contribute opinion pieces after they’ve qualified for office, but Ellis supporters would be welcome to write a response to Erickson’s piece.
Ellis, Macon’s first black mayor, and Reichert, who is white, are locked in a runoff election fight to become the first mayor of the unified Macon-Bibb County government.