Metro Atlanta voters went to the polls Tuesday to elect a slew of mayors, city council members, county commissioners and school board members. Some also decided whether to impose new taxes to pay for roads and other improvements.
Here’s a look at some of the key races.
Atlanta City Council
The race for Atlanta City Council president pitted three already well-known elected officials against each other.
C.T. Martin, an 80-year-old retired social worker from southwest Atlanta, has been the councilman for District 10 for more than two decades. Felicia Moore, a 56-year-old real estate broker from Collier Heights, was first elected to serve the city’s District 9 in 1997. Alex Wan, the 50-year-old director of development and alumni relations at Emory University, is in his second term representing District 6.
With nearly all precincts reporting. results show Moore and Wan likely headed to a runoff.
Fourteen other Atlanta City Council seats were also contested Tuesday, including two at-large posts. Incumbent Michael Julian Bond narrowly defeated challenger Courtney D. English for his Post 1 at-large role. Matt Westmoreland defeated Bret R. Williams and Cory Ruth for the Post 2 at-large seat.
Fulton County Commission
Three candidates competed to replace former chairman John Eaves, who resigned to run for mayor of Atlanta.
Robb Pitts, a former county commissioner, said during his campaign that he was prepared to help Fulton County achieve greatness. Keisha Waites, a former state representative, said she wants to expand transit and find a solution for the county’s ongoing property tax problems. Gabriel Sterling, a Sandy Springs councilman, said he wants to find the ways in which Fulton County can be a leader in the state.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Pitts and Waites appeared to be headed to a runoff.
The District 4 Fulton County Commission seat will likely go to a runoff, with six candidates vying to fill the post that has been open since April, when Vice Chair Joan Garner died of cancer.
Competing in the race are Eddie Lee Brewster, a former East Point councilman; Kathryn Flowers, a Realtor; Natalie Hall, Garner’s former chief of staff; Steven Lee, a member of the Atlanta Board of Education; Reese McCranie, the director of policy and communications at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; and Joshua McNair, a health care sales executive.
Flowers and Hall will compete in a runoff election.
Voters were picking a new mayor to replace Jere Wood, who decided not to run for a sixth term after a judge found he had violated term limits. Wood is challenging that decision, which has allowed him to stay in office for the end of his term.
The candidates are Michael Litten, who filed the suit seeking to remove Wood from office; Lee Jenkins, a local pastor; and two members of city council, Donald Horton and Lori Henry. Another candidate, Sandra Sidhom, dropped out after her residency was challenged.
Henry and Jenkins will face off in the Dec. 5 runoff, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting.
Atlanta School Board
Atlanta school board incumbents Leslie Grant and Eshé Collins were reelected.
Grant, who represents southeast Atlanta District 1, defeated Ade Oguntoye.
Collins, who represents south Atlanta District 6, defeated three challengers to hold onto her seat.
They are two of the six incumbents on the Atlanta Board of Education running for reelection.
In the open race for the west Atlanta District 5 seat, Erika Mitchell and Raynard Johnson are the top two finishers and will proceed to a runoff election.
All nine Atlanta Board of Education seats were up for election. The roughly 50,000-student school district is still working to recover from a massive cheating scandal.
The congested ballots featured a total of 30 candidates. At-large District 9 board member Jason Esteves, who leads the budget commission, and board vice-chairman Nancy Meister, who represents north Atlanta District 4, were the only incumbents unopposed in their reelection bids.
In the at-large race for the District 8 post, incumbent Cynthia Briscoe Brown was leading Ben Stone, an environmental insurance underwriter, and Charlie Stadtlander, chief executive officer of the consulting firm Stadtlander and Co. with all DeKalb County precincts reporting and more than 70 percent of Fulton County precincts reporting.
In DeKalb County, voters approved a plan to raise sales taxes from 7 percent to 8 percent. This special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) would raise more than $100 million a year for road repaving, fire station repairs, police cars and other infrastructure.
While the SPLOST would be a tax increase, another referendum on the ballot would lower property taxes. The measure would dedicate all proceeds from an existing 1 percent sales tax to reducing county property taxes.
Other items on the ballot included elections for several mayors and city council seats, as well as a referendum to make permanent a tax break for homeowners that offsets the cost of higher property assessments.
In Gwinnett, voters in two cities elected what were believed to be the county’s first-ever non-white mayors.
Norcross voters elected the county’s first African-American mayor in Craig Newton, a longtime city councilman who was uncontested in his bid to replace outgoing Mayor Bucky Johnson. Former councilman Rey Martinez became the first Latino mayor of any Gwinnett County city by besting Donna B. Jones in Loganville’s mayoral race.
In Cobb, the cities of Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs and Smyrna elected new council members. Marietta also held elections for the city school board.
Unofficial results show incumbents Ollie Clemons Jr. and Randy Green kept their council seats in Austell, while Marlin Lamar beat out Ikaika Anderson for a third seat by a razor thin margin.
In Kennesaw, Pat Ferris, David Blinkhorn and Chris Henderson were elected to city council, with Henderson beating out incumbent Jimmy Dickens.
A three-way council race in Marietta to represent Ward 1 was headed to a runoff between Cheryl Richardson and Jay Davis. Reggie Copeland won the Ward 5 seat, unseating incumbent Ruben Sands.
In Powder Springs, Nancy Farmer beat out incumbent Nancy Hudson for a seat on council. Smyrna’s special election to fill the Ward 3 seat will head to a runoff between Travis Lindley and Maryline Blackburn.
In races for three school board seats for Marietta City Schools, with all precincts reporting, there was one race where an incumbent was ousted. Challenger Angela Orange led incumbent Jeriene Bonner-Grimes for Seat 5. Incumbent Jason Waters held a commanding lead over Arthur Vaughn for seat 2. Incumbent Allison Gruehn defeated challenger Camile Jones for Seat 4.
Staff writers Tyler Estep, Arielle Kass, Vanessa McCray, Mark Niesse and Meris Lutz contributed to this report.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.