Pitts may ask for recount in Fulton chairman’s race

Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts must decide by next week whether to request a recount in a close election for commission chairman.

Incumbent Chairman John Eaves led by 356 votes — or about .8 percent of ballots cast — in unofficial returns from Tuesday’s Democratic primary. If Eaves’ lead remains within 1 percent when votes are certified next Tuesday, Pitts can request a recount, according to Fulton Election Director Richard Barron.

Pitts said Thursday he’s inclined to ask for a recount because the race is so close.

Eaves, 52, was first elected in 2006 and is seeking his third term as chairman. He said he’s confident his lead will stand.

Barron said he expects all votes to be tallied by late Friday. The county Board of Registration and Elections will meet Tuesday to certify the results. If Eaves’ lead is still 1 percent or less, Pitts would have 48 hours to decide whether to request a recount under state law, Barron said.

Pitts, 72, spent 20 years on the Atlanta City Council before winning his commission seat in 2002. Like Eaves, he serves countywide in his current commission seat. His term ends at the end of the year.

But a Republican redistricting plan approved by the General Assembly last year eliminated Pitts’ at-large seat in favor of a new north Fulton district. With his own seat gone, Pitts decided to run against Eaves for the chairman’s job, saying the county needed new leadership.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will face Republican Earl Cooper in the November general election.

The chairman’s election isn’t the only Fulton commission race yet to be decided. The District 5 seat apparently will be decided in a July 22 Democratic runoff election between Atlanta attorney Marvin Arrington Jr. and Brenda Muhammad, a former Atlanta School Board member. No Republicans are running for the District 5 seat.