In the remaining days of early voting, candidates for Macon-Bibb’s first consolidated government are making their final campaign pitches. The District Nine commission race has been plagued by a dispute over one candidate's eligibility. Now a new dispute is emerging over campaign funds.
A judge ruled this week that longtime activist Al Tillman is eligible to run in the west Macon district. For most of the election, Tillman’s candidacy has been challenged by Macon City Councilman Henry Gibson. He argued that Tillman is not a proper resident because he owns a home in district 8, and only rents an apartment in district 9.
Tillman's opponent is Gibson's city council colleague, James Timley, who is now changing the conversation to campaign finance. Timley claims Tillman has yet to file a record of his campaign contributions as required by the state. "My opponent doesn’t have any money. He doesn’t want the public to know because then they’ll understand that he’s being bought and paid for pretty much and that he’s going to have to pay the piper at some point. If he’s taking money from special interests he has to vote the way they want him to vote. I'm not taking any campaign funds."
Timley says he has raised over $6,000. But Tillman has raised over $14,000 and it’s posted right there on the web.
Tillman says his opponent is a part of the old guard that just doesn’t want to see the torch passed on. "My opponent, they’ve dug up everything but my dead grandmother and my father trying to find something on Al Tillman as opposed to saying he just wants to serve. What’s wrong with that? We’re not making millions of dollars here, and I’m not trying to give anybody any special favors."
On election night, Tillman says he is hosting an election party at his headquarters complete with a DJ. Timley says he will probably be out of town.