Clarkston to elect new mayor as Terry steps down to run for county seat

Now-former Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM 2015

Now-former Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM 2015

Clarkston voters will have to elect a new mayor later this year after Ted Terry gave up his post to run for a DeKalb County commission seat.

Due to the overlap between his mayoral term and the county position, state law dictates that Terry had to vacate his current council seat when he qualified to run for county commissioner for District 6.

As vice mayor, Clarkston Councilman Awet Eyasu is currently fulfilling the duties of mayor, City Manager Robin Gomez said.

Clarkston will hold a special election for mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The winner of that race would take office immediately and serve until the end of 2021, when Terry’s term would have ended. Then, the city is set to have its regular mayoral election in November 2021.

The time period for candidates to qualify to run in this year’s special election has not been set, but it may be in August or September.

Terry, first elected in 2013 and reelected in 2017, served as mayor of the small DeKalb city for more than six years. During last week’s City Council meeting, his last as mayor, he reflected on his tenure. He said he first ran for office because he wanted to get speed bumps installed on his street.

“I am happy to report that we did get our speed bumps,” Terry said. Serving as mayor, he said, has “been an honor.”

Terry has become well known in Georgia Democratic circles, serving as the state chapter director for the Sierra Club and appearing in season 2 of Netflix's "Queer Eye." Last year, he launched a bid for U.S. Senate, but announced in January that he was dropping out to instead run for the county commission seat.

Current Commissioner Kathie Gannon is not running for reelection. In addition to Terry, two other Democrats — activist Maryam Ahmad and community advocate Emily Halevy — qualified to run in the May 19 primary for the open seat.

District 6 is a "super district" in DeKalb that spans the entire west side of the county, including Dunwoody, Chamblee, Brookhaven, Clarkston, Decatur, Atlanta and much of unincorporated southwest DeKalb.

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