Spears appears to win DeKalb commission runoff

Initial, erroneous results from May’s primary had Spears in last place



The contentious, sometimes complicated race for the DeKalb County Commission’s District 2 seat is seemingly settled.

With most votes counted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff, unofficial results suggested Michelle Long Spears was poised to beat opponent Lauren Alexander by a wide margin.

There are no Republicans on November’s general election ballot so, if results hold, Spears would become commissioner-elect for the district that includes parts of the Decatur, Brookhaven and Atlanta areas.

Her road to get there was just a little eventful.

Initially reported results from the May 24 primary election showed Marshall Orson, a longtime DeKalb school board member looking to make the jump to county government, leading the three-way contest. Alexander was in second and Spears was in third, seemingly out of a runoff.

Spears and her campaign team, though, noticed that she’d gotten zero election day votes in all but a few precincts. The Georgia secretary of state’s office later said a series of election equipment programming errors prevented votes for Spears from being counted, and misallocated others.

A hand recount of the race’s paper ballots ultimately turned the initial results on their head: Spears was leading and headed for a runoff with Alexander. Orson was the odd man out.

Orson declined to pursue the election further but did ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into things. It declined.

Ahead of the runoff, Alexander trotted out new endorsements from several local city councilmembers.

Spears — who was the race’s fundraising leader but had drawn some backlash for earlier comments referring to 2020′s protests as “racial uprisings” — announced the support of former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes in recent days.

She would take office in January.

The DeKalb County elections board is expected to certify Tuesday’s results in a meeting scheduled for noon on Monday.