Decatur’s commission, front row l-r, Fred Boykin and Patti Garrett, back row l-r, Brian Smith, Tony Powers and Scott Drake. At year’s end Boykin is retiring after 16 years on the commission, and his replacement will mark the third new member (Smith and Powers are other others) in the last two years, turnover that’s virtually unprecedented in recent city history. Four candidates are vying for Boykin’s seat. Courtesy City of Decatur.

Qualifying ends with one Decatur race contested

With qualifying ending this week only one of five Decatur races will be contested in the Nov. 7 election, although that one could be a doozy.

Four qualified for the District 1A commission seat being vacated by Fred Boykin who is stepping down at the end of this year. Boykin has been a commissioner since 2000 and mayor pro tem the last two years.

Vying for Boykin’s seat are Timothy Martin, Kelly Walsh, Melissa Manrow and Betty Blondeau. Patti Garrett, now in her eighth year (the last two as mayor) and the longest-serving commissioner after Boykin’s retirement, is unopposed.

“I admit I’m relieved,” Garrett said. “But that seems to be typical of Decatur, where an incumbent is tough to beat while an open seat draws considerable interest.”

That wasn’t, however, the case on the school board. Several months ago Bernadette Seals announced that after 10 years she was retiring from her District 2A seat at year’s end. Only Heather Tell qualified for Seals’ seat. Meantime incumbents Annie Caiola (chair) and Lewis Jones are unopposed.

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