Jeff Brown (right), his wife Melony Brown (left) and their son Palmer Brown, leave Campbell Middle School after Jeff and Melony cast their ballots during Election Day in Smyrna, Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Both Jeff and Melony were able to cast their votes while Palmer, 18, who recently missed the registration date, was unable. Palmer plans on registering and voting in the upcoming 2020 elections. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/

Smyrna mayoral candidates prepare for Dec. 3 runoff

Smyrna residents will have to endure a few more weeks of politics from two candidates seeking to replace retiring, longtime Mayor Max Bacon.

Candidates Ryan Campbell and Derek Norton will advance to the Dec. 3 runoff since they received the most votes in Tuesday’s municipal election. Norton received 47 percent, votes to Campbell’s 25 percent. Steve Rasin followed with 22 percent, Laura Mireles at 5 percent and Alex Backry at 1 percent.

Norton, who was endorsed by Bacon, said he was proud to see more than 20 percent of registered voters participate in the city’s election. Cobb County Elections and Registration Director Janine Eveler said that out of Smyrna’s 36,597 registered voters, 7,907 of those people cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.

“I think we had a positive approach and our message resonated with voters,” he said of his campaign, adding he won every precinct in the city.

Campbell said he’s excited about clearing the hurdle to make it to the runoff. He said he will continue his campaign of building a broad coalition of people and “highlighting what makes us similar” over the next three weeks.

“We’re excited to be here and we’re very optimistic about our chances,” he said.

READSmyrna mayoral candidates debate growth, development

Incumbent City Councilwoman Susan D. Wilkinson fought off two challengers to avoid a runoff, winning 52 percent. Challengers James “JD” Smith followed with 40 percent and Suz Kaprich with 8 percent.

Incumbent City Councilwoman Maryline Blackburn lost her re-election bid to challenger Travis Lindley. Lindley won the race with 53 percent, to Blackburn’s 47 percent.

Blackburn said the results were “disappointing,” but she was proud to see the number of voters who cast ballots in the race increased from 2017 when she was elected to serve out the unexpired term of State Rep. Teri Anulewicz. 

“My campaign ran a very positive and clean race,” she said. “We got the people out to vote.” 

Blackburn said she will remain involved in the city, including continuing her service on the Smyrna Public Safety Foundation board and Sustainable Smyrna. 

Lindley said he is honored and humbled to have been elected to the City Council. 

“I look forward to getting to work in January,” he said.

Lindley also congratulated Blackburn on running a “vigorous campaign,” and hopes she remains involved in the community. 

Councilwoman Andrea Blustein appears to be trailing Austin Wagner by a mere two votes. Blustein received 339 votes to Wagner’s 341 votes.

Blustein told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the race “is not totally over” until the provisional ballots are counted. Evelyn said the Nov. 5 results will be certified on Tuesday, Nov. 12. No matter the outcome of her race, Blustein said she has enjoyed working with the neighborhoods and residents over the last eight years on the Council.

“If they call me about something, I try to get it straightened out,” she said.

Provisional, military and overseas citizen ballots have not been counted, Eveler said. 

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