“It’s going to be an uphill climb, but I think we can do it,” Thompson said of his race against Cupid.
In the July 31 Democratic primary, Cupid won 40 percent of the vote, while Thompson took just 27 percent. There are no Republican candidates on the November ballot, so the runoff winner is likely to be the one taking office in January.
Thompson said he is running on his record and improvements that are in the works for south Cobb in coming years.
Forthcoming changes include long-awaited upgrades to Floyd Road in Mableton and 2011 SPLOST-funded work on Six Flags Drive and Six Flags Parkway.
Already, Six Flags Drive has the county’s first HAWK crosswalk signal, a crossing signal that can be activated by pedestrians in places where a full stoplight is not needed.
“As long as that strip is — I think it’s pretty close to a mile — I think we’ll have to put another one there,” he said.
Thompson said he supports both Sheriff Neil Warren’s 287(g) program, which gives local governments access to a federal immigration database, as well as the county’s IMAGE agreement with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Under IMAGE, which commissioners approved 5-0 on May 22, the county agreed to open its employee records for inspection by federal officials to ensure there are no illegal immigrants on the county payroll.
“Everybody knows that the federal government has really been dragging their feet on the immigration issue,” Thompson said. “We’ve got to do what we can on the state and local level to at least see if we can enforce what we’ve already got there.”
Thompson said he supports expanding the IMAGE program to include companies that do work for the county.
“There may be some downside to that,” Thompson said. “(Tim Lee) was a little bit hesitant remarking on that, but I think, basically, we need to go ahead and pursue that.”
Thompson said that in his next term, he would like to see plans for the Mableton, River Line and Six Flags areas come together.
In Mableton, a new elementary school is an improvement that is already visible, Thompson said. The county looks to use its new form-based codes to help develop around a planned town green.
Along Riverview Road, Thompson said Green Street Properties has been cleaning up the area. The Atlanta company has a planned $300 million mixed-use development on 82 acres on the Chattahoochee River. Thompson said the project could take seven years to complete.
“We went down there for a festival one Saturday and we actually walked right down to the river,” Thompson said. “I don’t remember the last time you could do that in that part of Cobb County.”
Around Six Flags, the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority is looking at buying and razing dilapidated apartments.
“The redevelopment authority will possibly land-bank the land until we can get some private money coming in,” Thompson said. “It used to be a nasty word, but I don’t think it is now — I was talking to some folks this morning about a (tax allocation district), which would be a real shot in the arm. This would be using that tool in an area that certainly needs it, whereas before it was taken advantage of.”
Amid the overwhelming rejection of the proposed regional transportation sales tax, which would have paid for nearly a billion dollars of transit and road upgrades for the county, Thompson said how the county will address future transportation needs is uncertain.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’re going to get less money from the state and probably less money from the federal government.”
Thompson said experience is the key difference between him and Cupid.
“She’s about 35 years old, I’m 65, so I’ve been around for a while,” Thompson said. “And then, obviously, of course, the almost 12 years I’ve had as a county commissioner. As I’ve told people many times, four years on that board is kind of like getting another degree, because you’re exposed to so many disciplines that you ordinarily don’t know anything about.”
Thompson also questioned whether Cupid, a married mother of two young children, would have time to dedicate to the job.
Thompson also acknowledged that race is a factor in the district, where 42 percent of the voting-age population is black, he said. Thompson is white, and Cupid is black.
“You have to consider race in a political situation, just because of human nature,” Thompson said. “That’s not good or bad, it just is.”
The incumbent said that since July 31, he’s raised about $15,000 and spent most of it on mailings.
He said he sent out two mailers in the late stages of the campaign and has used a phone bank — with live people, not robocalls — to get out supporters.
“I put up my last two signs (Monday) night,” he said.
Runoff candidates have until Friday to file their campaign-finance reports, and as of Wednesday, his was not yet posted online.
Thompson plans to watch election returns Tuesday night at Paco’s Mexican Restaurant, near his home in Mableton.