Joe Carn, left, and Aretta Baldon, right, won runoff elections Tuesday for the Fulton County commission and Atlanta Board of Education, respectively. Submitted photos

Joe Carn elected in Fulton, Aretta Baldon joins Atlanta school board

The Fulton County commission and the Atlanta school board will soon have all their seats filled, after voters on Tuesday elected new representatives to each.

Fewer than 3% of registered voters cast ballots in the runoff elections that put Joe Carn on the county commission and Aretta Baldon on the school board.

Carn, 48, is a former College Park councilman. He bested former county commissioner Gordon Joyner to fill the unexpired term of Emma Darnell, who died this spring. Carn will serve through the end of 2020.

The district 6 commissioner will represent residents in unincorporated Fulton County, Chattahoochee Hills, Palmetto, Fairburn and Hapeville as well as parts of College Park, South Fulton, Union City, East Point and Atlanta.

Carn, a former employee in the Fulton solicitor’s office, said he intends to improve the county’s court system, including getting more funding for the courts without raising taxes. He also intends to build a senior center in the district and improve communication to constituents.

Carn did not respond to several emails or phone calls seeking comment about his victory. Before the election, he said that he did not want to comment on a number of issues he would be involved in, including the role of transit in the area and the future of the Fulton Industrial District, an unincorporated area in Fulton County that both Atlanta and the city of South Fulton want to annex. He said he couldn’t speak to disagreements between the Fulton County development authority and those of some cities, and didn’t want to comment on a legal dispute between Fulton County and the city of South Fulton regarding property the city wants the county to turn over.

He said he was the best candidate because he had experience dealing with county government from the city perspective.

“I know directly the needs of these cities from county government because I’ve been there and lived it,” he said previously. “I just want to enhance what they’re doing.”

Baldon’s victory means the Atlanta Board of Education will have all nine members for the first time since late January. She’ll be sworn in Nov. 4.

Baldon, 46, defeated Davida Huntley, 35, in the runoff race for the central Atlanta District 2 seat.

The seat had been held by Byron Amos, who left the board early this year to run for Atlanta City Council, though he did not win. Baldon will finish out Amos’ term through 2021 and will join a school board that’s beginning the critical work of hiring a new superintendent.

Fewer than 1,000 votes were cast in the runoff.

Baldon works as a freelancer in photography and marketing. She’s been active in the parent-teacher organization at her daughter’s school, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, a charter school authorized by Atlanta Public Schools.

She raised the most campaign cash — more than $47,000— drawing donations from charter school supporters, among others.

Huntley raised just over $14,000 for her campaign, including a contribution from the Atlanta Federation of Teachers. The teachers group has been vocal in its opposition to charter schools.

In a written statement Wednesday, Baldon said she’s “grateful for the wide support our campaign received from all corners of District 2” and said she looks forward to working with APS and community leaders, including Huntley.

“Our goal was, and will continue to be, empowering and lifting up our community’s voice to ensure we have a strong voice on the APS Board of Education. The harsh truth is that only 20% of our children in District 2 are reading, writing, and doing math on grade-level. While we have much work ahead of us, there is also much about which to be hopeful. If we, as a community, continue the momentum built during the campaign and keep lifting our voices, we will improve our schools,” she said.

Last month, Keisha Carey, one of nine school board candidates who competed in September but did not advance to Tuesday’s runoff, filed an objection in Fulton County Superior Court contesting the results of the September election. The case is pending.

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