Challengers unite to unseat Natalie Hall in Fulton commission runoff

Mo Ivory is endorsed by fellow challengers in the Fulton Commission runoff against Natalie Hall.

Credit: Jim Gaines

Credit: Jim Gaines

Mo Ivory is endorsed by fellow challengers in the Fulton Commission runoff against Natalie Hall.

Two challengers for the District 4 seat on Fulton County Commission in the May primary joined forces Thursday, with third-place finisher Sonya Ofchus endorsing Moraima “Mo” Ivory in the upcoming runoff against incumbent Commissioner Natalie Hall.

“I’m here to say that I will support Mo Ivory for District 4,” Ofchus said.

Ivory, Ofchus and Columbus Ward spoke briefly outside the Rick McDevitt Youth Center in Four Corners Park, backed by a dozen supporters.

All three speakers referred obliquely to Hall’s sexual harassment scandal that cost county taxpayers roughly $1 million. Ofchus said that money could have been spent on affordable housing or other community needs.

Ward, executive director of Peoplestown Revitalization Corp., said he originally backed Ofchus but now supports Ivory as someone who will bring integrity and accessibility to the office.

Ivory said that as a working mother, wife, lawyer, professor, and resident of District 4 for more than 30 years she understands local needs and struggles. She named affordable housing, accessible health care, more services for seniors and protecting tax money as her priorities. Ivory also referred to the $1 million county payout as an example of Hall’s “failed leadership.”

Ivory is a law professor at Georgia State University, director of GSU’s Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Initiative.

In 2017, Hall won a special election to fill the remaining term of late Commissioner Joan Garner, for whom Hall served as chief of staff. Hall won a full term in 2020, but her district lines were redrawn in 2023.

In September, other Fulton County commissioners censured Hall following a federal hearing on her affair with a former chief of staff. In that hearing, Hall repeatedly took the Fifth Amendment when asked if she placed tracking devices in the man’s car.

Early this year, a federal judge ruled the county was liable in the sexual harassment case, which cost taxpayers roughly $1 million in penalties and costs. In February, commissioners cut Hall’s office budget by $200,000 to partially offset the cost of the judgment.

Following the May 21 partisan primary, Hall led Ivory by 156 votes out of 16,035 cast. That’s a margin of less than 1%, and since no candidate got a majority a runoff is required. Early voting for the June 18 runoff begins Saturday, June 8.

Hall did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.