Higdon, Gillespie move forward in Macon commissioner race
Incumbent commissioner Paul Higdon and political newcomer Karl Gillespie will move on to the general election after winning the primary in Macon County.
In the District 3 commissioner race, Higdon received 45 percent of the Republican vote while his challengers Manny Carrion and Greg Boyer received 30 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
“I’m very appreciative that the voters had enough confidence in me to support me and give me another shot,” Higdon said. “I’m ready — it takes a while to learn the nuances of the commissioner role, but now I feel a lot more informed about how the process works and how it should work.”
Two candidates were seeking a chance to fill the District 2 commissioner seat, which will be up for grabs since Commissioner Kevin Corbin decided to run on the Republican ticket for the District 120 House seat.
Businessman Karl Gillespie received 56 percent of the vote for the District 2 seat while his challenger Ron Haven received 43 percent of the vote.
The Macon County Board of Commissioners is currently made up of one Democrat and four Republicans. Higdon says he has the most consistent record of voting against more regulations and spending. He is often the lone opposition on the board when it comes to those types of decisions. Depending on the November election results, the board makeup in Macon County could see some major changes.
Higdon said he feels good about his chances in November though, given his primary support and the fact that Macon County is still a predominately conservative community.
Similar to what Corbin’s philosophy has been while serving on the board, Gillespie considers himself a fiscally responsible conservative — someone who understands the need for spending when it’s an investment in the future.
Higdon will now face off against Democratic challenger Bobby Kuppers in November to try and reclaim his seat for a second term. Kuppers — a Franklin High School teacher and football coach — served one term as a commissioner for District 3 until he was ousted by Higdon in the 2012 election.
Higdon said he only spent $300 campaigning prior to the primary election and doesn’t plan to do much more than continue to discuss the issues with members of the community.
Gillespie will now go on to face Democratic challenger Charlie Leatherwood, who served as a commissioner before. While he was on the Republican ticket last time he ran for election in 2010, Leatherwood signed up to run as a Democrat this time around. He is also a former Macon County Schools educator and served on the Southwestern Community College Board of Trustees.
Republican primary, Macon commissioners race
• 40 percent of registered voters in Macon County cast a ballot
• Karl Gillespie 3,151 (56.5 percent)
• Ron Haven 2,424 (43.4 percent)
• Paul Higdon 2,618 (45.6 percent)
• Manny Carrion 1,719 (29.9 percent)
• Greg Boyer 1,400 (24.4 percent)