Johnny Crist, the mayor of Lilburn, resigned Monday to run for higher office.
Crist’s resignation is effective March 1. A member of council, Tim Dunn, also resigned effective March 1 to run for mayor.
Crist, who was reelected to his third term in November after running unopposed, said his resignation has been in the works for several weeks. He plans to challenge Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, as a conservative Republican for House Seat 108.
“The beauty of it is I still get to serve our city,” Crist said. “I don’t plan to get too far away.”
There are still some projects Crist hopes to complete either as mayor or as “the most engaged citizen,” he said. One of those is the installation of lifelike bronze statues that will help tell some of the city’s history, including its founding on a railroad line and a boll weevil epidemic that wiped out cotton crops.
“We have to tell our story,” he said.
Crist has a history of bringing art to the city, and was involved in the creation of the Lilburn Arts Alliance. He also championed construction of a combined city hall-library and led redevelopment efforts in Lilburn.
Crist said he eventually planned to seek higher office, but intended to serve out his term as mayor. Several several people asked if he would consider challenging Clark, who flipped the seat to Democrats in the last election, changing his calculus.
“I think you have to respond when the invitation is there,” he said. “It’s extraordinarily unexpected for me.”
The special election to fill both the mayor’s seat and Council Post 4 will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 19 at Lilburn City Hall, located at 340 Main St.
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