Metro Atlanta voters elect diverse candidates in local races

The balance of power shifted in some suburban Atlanta communities Tuesday, mirroring demographic trends that have diversified the region and made it more competitive for Democrats.

The Gwinnett County Commission, which hasn’t had a Democrat in more than 30 years, gained two—one of them the first Asian American to serve on the board, the other the first African American commissioner.

In Henry County, the commission became majority nonwhite with the election of Vivian Thomas, an African American Democrat.


A pair of Democratic candidates for the Gwinnett County Commission made history Tuesday night.

With the vast majority of precincts reporting in Districts 2 and 4, Democrats Ben Ku and Marlene Fosque both declared victory over their Republican opponents.

The five-member Gwinnett County Commission hasn’t had a Democratic member since 1986 and has also had a historical dearth of diversity.

Ku — who beat Lynette Howard in District 2 — will be the board’s first Asian-American member, as well as its first openly gay one.

Marlene Fosque — who defeated John Heard for District 4 — will be the board’s first black member.

Gwinnett has been a majority-minority county since at least 2010 and has begun shifting further left in recent years. It voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016's presidential election and appeared poised to choose Stacey Abrams by a healthy margin in Tuesday's governor's race.


Cobb voters in Commission District 3 backed Republican incumbent JoAnn Birrell against Democrat Caroline Holko and a write-in challenger.

Commission District 1 voters officially elected Keli Gambrill, who ran unopposed after winning the Republican primary.


In Fulton, county commission races were uncontested, but Fulton voters weighed in on a number of ballot measures.

They approved a measure that would undo a state constitutional amendment that keeps the county’s last unincorporated area — around Fulton Industrial Boulevard — from joining a city.


Three county commissioners and two Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor candidates were on the ballot, but the only opposition was from write-in candidates.

A majority of Brookhaven residents appeared to authorize the City Council to borrow $40 million to upgrade the city’s parks. The money will be paid back using property tax revenue, and a millage increase is expected.


In Henry County, incumbent District 3 Commissioner Gary Barham defeated challenge V. Ranae Crutches with 100 percent of the vote tallied. In the race to replace outgoing District 4 Commissioner Blake Prince, Democrat Vivian Thomas defeated Republican Pete Peterson on the six-member county commission.

The addition of Thomas to the commission will bring to four the number of African-American commissioners, a reflection of the county’s status as a majority-minority community.

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