Stage set for new faces to compete for council seats in north Fulton

The pandemic, social justice, national politics and other factors have motivated several new candidates to run for office in north Fulton County cities, while some longtime officials are stepping down.
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The pandemic, social justice, national politics and other factors have motivated several new candidates to run for office in north Fulton County cities, while some longtime officials are stepping down.

This story has been corrected from an earlier version to reflect that Dontaye Carter protested in Atlanta.

City Council representation in north Fulton cities could look vastly different after the November 2 election. The pandemic, social justice, national politics and other factors have motivated several new candidates to run for office while some longtime officials are stepping down.

Among north Fulton’s 5 mayoral seats, 4 are up for election and only two incumbent mayors will run again.

In Roswell, Mayor Lori Henry has two challengers in her reelection bid. Jason Yowell, a frequent critic of the mayor, announced he would run weeks ago. And Kurt Wilson, who ran for mayor in 2017 but dropped out before Election Day, is once again seeking the office.

In Johns Creek, Mike Bodker, who was elected the city’s first mayor in 2006, will leave the office in December. Johns Creek City Councilman John Bradberry and former councilmember Brian Weaver are competing for the mayor’s office. Weaver resigned from his Post 2 seat in July to save the city the cost of a special election, he said. Bradberry’s City Council Post 3 term ends in December.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul is the second mayor of the city, succeeding the late Eva Galambos, who encouraged him to run for office. He will face a challenge from Dontaye Carter, former senior officer of public affairs for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.

Paul has said there are several issues he would like to see through as mayor, including the city’s water dispute with the city of Atlanta and affordable workforce housing.

“I want to figure out how we can enrich tenants, not just landlords,” Paul told the AJC after announcing his run for reelection last spring. “How do you get (people) where they are accumulating savings and equity and have a stake in the city?”

Carter has criticized Sandy Springs officials for moving too slowly. The candidate said peacefully protesting in Atlanta last summer following the murder of George Floyd led to his running for office.

Carter said that while protesting, he felt some trauma with the reality of what happened to Floyd at the hands of then-police officer Derek Chauvin.

“I was sitting in therapy and my therapist said ‘Trauma exists in the absence of justice,’” Carter said, of his inspiration to run for mayor. “It’s important to fight to have a more equitable system.”

The north Fulton cities of Roswell, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Milton have a total of 23 municipal races on the November ballot and 53 candidates qualified to run for those seats last week.

Roswell

Besides the mayor’s race, there are three other other Roswell City Council seats on the ballot.

Roswell City Councilman Matthew Tyser announced Friday that he will not seek reelection but will run against Rep. Mary Robichaux (D-Roswell) to represent north Fulton County in the state Legislature. Three contenders are running for Tyser’s Post 5 seat.

Incumbents in Post 4 and Post 6 each will face a single challenger.

Johns Creek

Johns Creek City Council posts 1, 2, 3 and 5 are all up for election. Two candidates have qualified to run for Post 1, two for Post 2, three for Post 3 and two for Post 5.

Sandy Springs

In addition to the mayor’s race, Sandy Springs has several new names running for 15 City Council seats.

In Sandy Springs District 2, incumbent Steve Soteres isn’t seeking reelection and two candidates have qualified to run for the seat.

Councilman Chris Burnett has also decided not to run for reelection. Three candidates qualified to run for his District 3 seat.

Each of the remaining four incumbents will face challengers. Including the incumbents, District 1 had two candidates qualify; District 4 has four candidates; Districts 5 and 6 have two candidates each.

Alpharetta

In Alpharetta where council members Ben Burnett in Post 2 and Karen Richard in Post 3 are not running for reelection, three candidates will compete for each of their seats.

One man who qualified for Richard’s seat dropped out of the race late Friday due to a family medical issue.

Also in Alpharetta, incumbent Donald Mitchell in Post 1 will face one challenger for his seat.

Milton

In nearby Milton, the city’s first and only mayor, Joe Lockwood, will not run again. City Council member Peyton Jamison is running unopposed for the mayor’s office.

Three candidates are running for Jamison’s District 1, Post 1 seat. The incumbent and one challenger are running for District 2, Post 1. Incumbent Joe Longoria in District 3, Post 1 is leaving office and one person has qualified to fill his seat.

Election information

To vote in the Nov. 2 election, voters must register by Oct. 4. Early voting will take place Oct. 12 – 29. Early voting locations will be open 7 days a week, 9a.m. to 6 p.m.

The last day to request an absentee ballot will be Oct. 22. Voters can apply for an absentee ballot through the Fulton County website at fultoncountyga.gov. Absentee ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at drop boxes located inside early voting locations during early voting hours.

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