Cobb Democrats capture commission chair, ahead in local races

Democrat Lisa Cupid was elected chair of the Cobb County Commission. (credit: submitted photo)

Democrat Lisa Cupid was elected chair of the Cobb County Commission. (credit: submitted photo)

Democrat Lisa Cupid has ousted incumbent Cobb Commission Chair Mike Boyce, a Republican, in a major victory for her party that signals the county’s demographic and political transformation.

Cupid has represented South Cobb as a commissioner on the board for the past eight years. She will be the first African American woman to serve as chair, and the first Democrat in many years.

Her success also brings Democrats a step closer to controlling a majority on the commission, with another race too close to call. Democrats were also leading in the sheriff and district attorney races, with some 16,000 votes remaining uncounted.

“This is a big get for Cobb County Democrats,” said Kerwin Swint, head of the Political Science Department at Kennesaw State University.

Swint noted that local Democratic candidates appeared to do even better than those higher up the ballot, an observation he attributed to shifting demographics and effective campaigning.

Local Democrats had “good candidates, good ground game," and “a message that a lot of people in the community were ready to run with,” he said.

Cupid said her first priority will be addressing issues of “governance” to ensure all commissioners feel included in decision-making. She pointed to issues like spending pandemic aid money and police reform as areas where she felt excluded.

“I felt like I was on the outside even though I was on the board,” Cupid recalled of her push for a citizen review board for policing. “I feel like if we can have a straight-forward conversation about all of our interests … perhaps we can come up with ways to address the concerns associated with policing.”

She added that policing was just one example, and her overall goal is to create a “better sense of cohesion” on the board.

Boyce posted his concession on Facebook Wednesday morning.

“I called Chairwoman-elect Lisa Cupid this morning and left a message congratulating her on her election, expressing my appreciation for running an issues-based campaign, and wishing her all the best in the future,” Boyce wrote. “It has been an honor to have served the people of Cobb County.”

With Cupid’s win, Democrats picked up one seat on the commission, since Democrat Monique Sheffield ran unopposed to replace Cupid in South Cobb. If Democrats manage to flip a third seat in East Cobb District 2, the party would control a majority on the board.

In that race, Democrat Jerica Richardson maintained a razor thin advantage over her Republican opponent, Fitz Johnson.

In the Sheriff’s race, Democrat Craig Owens, a police major, declared victory over incumbent Republican Neil Warren. Warren had not conceded as of Wednesday morning. Owens' lead appeared larger than the number of outstanding ballots but the results were not final.

Democrat Flynn Broady was leading incumbent Republican District Attorney Joyette Holmes in a closer race.

Jacquelyn Bettadapur, chair of the Cobb County Democratic Committee, was optimistic about the outcome of the local races. She said Cupid was helped by her track record as a commissioner in South Cobb, a Democratic stronghold, as well as a contested race in East Cobb that brought out more voters.

“It all starts at the grassroots level and you don’t get more grassroots than Cobb County Commission and local government,” she said. “I think what I’m looking forward to is just a change in the tone, a change in the public profile of Cobb County.”