C. Jack Ellis' Last Campaign(?)

October 25, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

We had a pretty big election season wrap up here recently in my home of Macon, GA,  the Jewel of the Fall Line. Where once we had both city and county governments, now we have one unified body. These elections were for the first folks to occupy both executive and legislative branches of this new body. 

In the executive corner, the race went from six candidates to two in a runoff. One of the last two standing was C. Jack Ellis, two term Mayor of Macon. Ellis can be a polarizing figure here locally. In his second term he was the subject of a recall effort. He also was wildly popular with many as the city's first black mayor. 

Flash back to election day. I was tasked with telling the Ellis end of the story. Jim Gaines, our city hall reporter, was kind enough to share Ellis' number with me late in the afternoon. I called him up and asked where he was going to be that day.

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignFormer Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis spent the last hours before the polls closed in the mayoral runoff pounding on doors in the Tindall Heights neighborhood Tuesday.

Me:"Mr. Ellis, I just wanted to know where you will be today so we can catch up with you, make some photos...."

Ellis:"I'm not doing anything for the media."

Me:"Great, I don't want you to do anything for me. I just want see what you are up to."

Ellis:"We are out in Tindall Heights trying to get out the vote. (yells) Have you voted!?"

Me"Well. yes sir I have..."

 

And that's where I realized he wasn't talking to me anymore. He was shouting at a potential voter. Out in Tindall Heights, one of the oldest housing projects in the country. Turned out Ellis didn't care if I tagged along while he did his thing, but he sure wasn't going to slow down. 

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignFormer Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis spent the last hours before the polls closed in the mayoral runoff pounding on doors in the Tindall Heights neighborhood Tuesday. Ellis was going door to door. Knocking, cajoling, offering rides to the polls. But, to be clear, never making a 1;1 relationship between the ride and a vote for him. The man was working. 

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignGRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH Macon, GA 10/15/13
Ellis stops to talk to a car full of supporters while last minute campaigning in Tindall Heights Tuesday.

As a former two term mayor and the first black mayor in the city, Ellis had something of star appeal with a lot of the folks we ran into. 

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignEllis carries groceries for a woman so that she could get back out of the house and to the polls around 6:30 Tuesday. Ellis carried groceries for one woman so she could get back out the polls more quickly. 

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignFormer Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis spent the last hours before the polls closed in the mayoral runoff pounding on doors in the Tindall Heights neighborhood Tuesday.

Ellis_CampaignEllis_Campaign Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis takes Kyra Boyd from her mother, Kendra Daniels, an employee of the Brickyard Golf Club, as her father Dorsha Boyd watches while Ellis looked for last minute votes in Tindall Heights Tuesday. Daniels said she had already voted for Ellis. What's campaigning without kissing babies?

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignFormer Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis talks with a man who gave his name as "Slim" about why he should vote while canvassing the Tindall Heights neighborhood Tuesday in the final hours of the mayoral runoff. Ellis explains the importance of voting to a young man who went by the name Slim.  Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignEllis waves and yells,"Have you voted?" to the driver of a passing car.

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignBefore making one last run with a voter to her polling place on Bloomfield Road, Ellis handed out money to kids so they could buy ice cream. Easily my favorite moment of the outing was when the ice cream truck came tinkling down the block. Some of the kids had money for ice cream. Others tearily did not. Apparently this didn't sit well with Ellis as he began hand out cash to the kids at the truck so they could all enjoy some ice cream. 

Ellis_CampaignEllis_CampaignFormer Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis spent the last hours before the polls closed in the mayoral runoff pounding on doors in the Tindall Heights neighborhood Tuesday. At the end of the day, Ellis lost the runoff to sitting mayor Robert Reichert. Though Ellis more or less stated that this was his last run, his past tells me that you would be foolish to count him out of the fight. 


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