New leaders elected across metro Atlanta, unseating several incumbents

November 30, 2021 Atlanta: Sylvia Cook-Lopez votes at Antioch Baptist Church North located at 540 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd, NW in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (John Spink /



November 30, 2021 Atlanta: Sylvia Cook-Lopez votes at Antioch Baptist Church North located at 540 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd, NW in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (John Spink /

Holders of political offices across metro Atlanta didn’t like what they saw Tuesday night after runoff votes were counted.

Four Southside mayors and nine council seats in metro Atlanta were decided by voters Tuesday. While Atlantans knew they would elect a new mayor, many incumbents across the metro area seem to have been ousted, according to the latest results which are not yet official.

In Fairburn, former mayor Mario Avery will unseat his successor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst to regain the keys to the city. He received 62% of the vote. He nearly won outright on Nov. 2, but he was 17 votes shy, forcing the runoff.

Avery told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday morning that his campaign slogan is, “Let’s restore Fairburn’s good name. Let’s restore unity in our community.” Avery said residents are looking for more structured leadership in Fairburn, and he criticized Carr-Hurst’s controversial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She required city workers to report to their regular work sites at the onset of the pandemic, despite most cities allowing employees to work from home.

“Her statement was, “I’m not going to pay everybody to stay at home,’” Avery said. “Well, you’re about the only government who didn’t do that.” Carr-Hurst did not respond to the AJC’s requests for comment.

In nearby South Fulton, incumbent Mayor William “Bill” Edwards lost his reelection campaign to Khalid Kamau, a former councilman. A prominent Democratic Socialist, Kamau got 59% of the vote and will lead Georgia’s eighth most populous city.

Kamau was among the city leaders who attempted to remove Edwards from office in 2019 due to a controversial development deal, but an investigative hearing ended soon after without a vote. South Fulton incumbent District 4 Councilwoman Naeema Gilyard was also bested by Jaceey Sebastian, who received 58% of the vote.

A council runoff in Marietta ended up being a blowout. Carlyle Kent received 72% of the vote over incumbent Reginald Copeland for the Ward 5 council seat.

An incumbent councilman in Stonecrest was also not reelected. District 1 representative Jimmy Clanton Jr. was unable to fend off Tara Graves, who won with 68% of the vote. Clanton previously told the AJC his perceived close connection to Mayor Jason Lary, who was recently charged with three felonies in an alleged scheme to steal pandemic relief funds, hurt his chances at reelection.

Only two incumbents came out victorious Tuesday. Forest Park Mayor Angelyne Butler bested Thomas Smith by receiving 56% of the vote. In Suwanee, Post 5 Councilman Pete Charpentier beat David Martinez by getting 51% of the vote.

There are other tight races. Manfred Graeder received four more votes than Brandon Odum in a runoff for the Duluth Post 4 council seat. It’s unclear whether the city will hold a recount.

In Tucker, Cara Schroeder got 53% of the vote over Imani Barnes for a District 2 council seat. Barnes was among a slew of left-leaning candidates backed by DeKalb Democrats in Tucker — most of whom were unsuccessful in winning highly contested races this election cycle.


Mayoral Races

Fairburn: Mario Avery had 60% of the vote versus incumbent Elizabeth Carr-Hurst’s 40%.

Forest Park: Incumbent Angelyne Butler had 56% of the vote versus Thomas Smith’s 44%.

Peachtree City: Kim Learnard had 53% of the vote versus Eric Imker’s 47%.

South Fulton: Khalid Kamau had 59% of the vote versus incumbent William “Bill” Edwards’ 41%.

Council Races

Duluth Post 4: Manfred Graeder had 50.2% of the vote versus Brandon Odum’s 49.8%.

Marietta Ward 5: Carlyle Kent had 72% of the vote versus incumbent Reginald Copeland’s 28%.

Milton District 1, Post 1: Andrea Verhoff had 63% of the vote versus Jami Tucker’s 37%.

Peachtree City Post 4: Frank Destadio had 54% of the vote versus Phil Crane’s 46%.

Roswell Post 5: Will Morthland had 63% of the vote versus Michael Dal Cerro’s 37%.

South Fulton District 4: Jaceey Sebastian had 58% of the vote versus incumbent Naeema Gilyard’s 42%.

Stonecrest District 1: Tara Graves had 68% of the vote versus incumbent Jimmy Clanton Jr.’s 32%.

Suwanee Post 5: Incumbent Pete Charpentier had 51% of the vote versus David Martinez’s 49%.

Tucker District 2: Cara Schroeder had 53% of the vote versus Imani Barnes’ 47%.