The three cityhood movements, all led by Republicans, were widely viewed as a backlash to Democratic control in the county’s most conservative areas. This year’s was the first election since Democrats took over the Cobb Board of Commissioners in 2020, ending decades of GOP dominance in the northwest Atlanta suburbs.
Cityhood supporters promised that each of the three would be limited in scope, offering only a handful of services, such as planning and zoning, code enforcement and parks and recreation. Only East Cobb planned to provide its own police and fire departments.
All three are wealthier, whiter and more conservative than the county as a whole. Proponents said a city government was needed to block unwanted development from their affluent rural and suburban neighborhoods.
Misinformation was widespread throughout the abbreviated campaign, after supporters moved the election date up from November to May. In town halls, mailers and interviews, cityhood supporters claimed without evidence that Democratic Chairwoman Lisa Cupid was targeting the county’s low density neighborhoods for unwanted development, such as apartments and laundromats.
But that message fell flat with voters. Critics said the cities were rushed to the ballot, leaving voters with too many unanswered questions to make an informed decision.
Opponents also questioned whether a new layer of government was needed to accomplish the stated goals of cityhood supporters. County planning documents, which govern future zoning decisions, envision the three areas remaining predominantly low density.
Lost Mountain in West Cobb would have immediately become Cobb’s largest city, with a population of 75,000. East Cobb’s proposed city limits cover nearly 60,000 residents, while Vinings would have had a population of about 7,000.
District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, R-Northeast Cobb, easily withstood a primary challenge and will face Democrat Christine Triebsch in the November general election. Birrell defeated Republican challenger Judy Sarden, receiving 77% of the vote in unofficial results.