DeKalb candidates qualify: 83 will run in dozens of city races

A person walks outside of the Voter Registration and Elections Office in Dekalb County during of the first day of early voting on Monday, March 2, 2020.

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A person walks outside of the Voter Registration and Elections Office in Dekalb County during of the first day of early voting on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Residents who live in one of DeKalb’s 12 cities will see several local races and possibly a referendum on their November ballots

More than 40 local elections will take place across DeKalb County’s dozen cities this November.

Eighty-three candidates threw their hats in the ring to see who could serve as their city’s mayor, councilmember or board of election member. Decatur and Lithonia residents will also each have a referendum to consider.

Each city has at least two seats up for grabs. While some candidates will be running unopposed, other races are poised to be hard-fought elections that could immediately affect residents and the balance of power among city leaders.

Look no further than Stonecrest, where the majority of City Council seats are up for election. Three incumbents are running against challengers to keep their seat, and whoever wins will inherit a young city on the heels of several financial scandals and a recently revised city charter.

Tucker, founded in 2015 two years before Stonecrest, is another young city to watch. The city’s founding mayor, Frank Auman, is running for re-election against Robin Biro. Auman, the former chair of the DeKalb County Republican Party, is among the few right-leaning elected officials in DeKalb. Biro has worked within state Democratic politics for more than a decade.

Tucker’s City Council will also have turnover for the first time since it was founded because an effort to remove term limits for the mayor and council didn’t make it through the state Legislature.

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The City of Stone Mountain will undergo change this election cycle, since longtime mayor Patricia Wheeler is not running for re-election. She’s served as mayor for 18 years off-and-on since the 1980s, but three candidates are running to be her successor as mayor of the tiny city often overshadowed by the Confederate monument of the same name.

Below is a list of every race in DeKalb’s 12 cities along with who qualified to be listed on local ballots. Information on how to participate in the Nov. 2 election is after the list of races and candidates.

Avondale Estates

• Two City Commission seats will be on local ballots. All commission seats are at-large.

• Three candidates, including both incumbents, qualified for the two commission seats currently held by Lionel Laretta and Lisa Shortell.

Brookhaven

• The City Council seats for District 2 and 4 will be on local ballots.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 2 seat currently held by H.J. “John” Park.

• Two candidates qualified for the District 4 seat currently held by Joe Gebbia.

Chamblee

• The mayor’s seat and three City Council seats, which include District 1, District 4 and the at-large district, will be on local ballots.

• Brian Mock will run unopposed for the mayor’s seat currently held by Eric Clarkston.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 1 seat currently held by John Mesa.

• Two candidates qualified for the newly created District 4 seat. It used to be a second at-large seat, which was vacant from Darron Kusman’s resignation.

• Two candidates qualified for the at-large district seat currently held by Brian Mock.

Clarkston

• The mayor’s seat and three City Council seats, which are all at-large, will be on local ballots.

• Incumbent Beverly Burks will run unopposed for the mayor’s seat.

• Seven candidates qualified to run for the three council seats, which are currently held by Jamie Carroll, Ahmed Hassan and Mark Perkins. Carroll is the only incumbent who qualified to run for re-election.

Decatur

• The City Commission seats for District 1, Post A, and District 2, Post A, will be on local ballots.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 1, Post A, commission seat currently held by Kelly Walsh.

• Incumbent Patti Garrett will run unopposed for the District 2, Post A, commission seat.

• After November elections, the commission will appoint a new mayor among themselves. Garrett currently serves as mayor.

• The Decatur Board of Education seats for District 1, Post A; District 2, Post A; and the at-large district seat will also be on local ballots.

• Hans Utz will run unopposed for the District 1, Post A, seat currently held by Lewis Jones.

• Two candidates qualified to run for the District 2, Post A, seat currently held by Heather Tell.

• Incumbent Jana Johnson-Davis will run unopposed for the at-large district seat.

• Decatur residents will also vote on a referendum regarding senior homestead tax exemptions for Decatur City Schools.

Doraville

• Three City Council seats, one for District 1, 2 and 3, will be on local ballots.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 1 seat currently held by Gerald Evans.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 2 seat currently held by Chris Henshaw.

• Incumbent Stephe Koontz will run unopposed for the District 3 seat.

Dunwoody

• The City Council seats for Post 1, District 1; Post 2, District 2; and Post 3, District 3, will be on local ballots.

• Two candidates qualified for the District 1, Post 1, seat that was vacated by Pam Tallmadge.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 2, Post 2, seat currently held by Jim Riticher.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 3, Post 3, seat currently held by Tom Lambert.

Lithonia

• Three City Council seats will be on the ballot. All council seats are at-large.

• Four candidates, including three incumbents, qualified for the at-large council seats currently held by William “Ric” Dodd, Diane W. Howard and Amelia Inman.

• A referendum for an annexation that would add roughly 300 acres of unincorporated DeKalb County will also be on the ballot. Residents who live in Lithonia and the annexation area will see it on their ballots.

Pine Lake

• Three City Council seats will be on the ballot. All council seats are at-large.

• Four candidates qualified to run for the three council seats, whcih are currently held by Jean Bordeaux, Brandy Hall and Augusta Woods. All three incumbents qualified to run for re-election.

Stone Mountain

• The mayor’s seat and three City Council seats, which include Posts 4, 5 and 6, will be on local ballots.

• Three candidates qualified to run for the mayor’s seat currently held by Patricia Wheeler.

• Four candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the Post 4 seat currently held by Diana Roe Hollis.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the Post 5 seat currently held by Shawnette Bryant.

• Three candidates qualified for the Post 6 seat currently held by Jasmine Little.

Stonecrest

• The council seats for Districts 1, 3 and 5 will be on local ballots.

• Four candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 1 seat currently held by Jimmy Clanton Jr.

• Three candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 3 seat currently held by Jazzmin Cobble.

• Three candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the District 5 seat currently held by Tammy L. Grimes.

Tucker

• The mayor’s seat and four City Council seats, including District 1, Post 1; District 1, Post 2; District 2, Post 1; and District 3, Post 1, will be on local ballots.

• Two candidates, including the incumbent, qualified for the mayor’s seat currently held by Frank Auman.

• Two candidates qualified for the District 1, Post 1 seat currently held by Pat Soltys.

• Three candidates will run for the District 1, Post 2, seat that was vacated by the death of William “Bill” Rosenfeld.

• Three candidates will run for the District 2, Post 1, seat currently held by Matt Robbins.

• Three candidates will run for the District 3, Post 1, seat currently held by Michelle Penkava.

Nov. 2 election information

To vote in the Nov. 2 election, voters must register by Oct. 4.

Monday was the first day absentee voters could start applying for ballots, and the deadline for absentee applicants is Oct. 22. An application to receive a mail-in ballot can be found on the DeKalb elections page, dekalbcountyga.gov/voter-registration-elections/absentee-information.

Early voting begins Oct. 12 and continues through Oct. 29. Early voting hours have yet to be determined. Any runoffs will be held on Nov. 30. A full list of qualifying candidates for every DeKalb race is available at dekalbcountyga.gov/voter-registration-elections/current-election-information.

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