Out of all the cities in Cobb County, Marietta is the only one where the mayor, each of the seven city council positions and seven board of education seats are up for election. Not to mention a $68 million bond that voters will decide whether to approve for redevelopment in the Franklin Road area.
Many city officials finishing their latest term, such as Mayor Steve Tumlin, said they would be filing first thing today, as well as most of the candidates who have announced they will challenge seated council members.
One challenger is Charles Levinson, a lifelong resident of Cobb County, who is running for mayor and said Wednesday that he extended his campaign a personal loan of $3,000 to ensure he will stay competitive.
In order to qualify, candidates must be a resident of Marietta for a year and continue to reside within the district from which they were elected for the full term.
The mayor is paid $1,500 per month, and each council member is paid $1,084 per month.
In December, the City Council approved redistricting Marietta’s seven wards based on 2010 census data.
Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration, said the city provided the board a new map of boundaries. During this qualifying week, the board may need to verify that a candidate does live in the newly defined ward by checking their addresses on voter registration records.
Eveler said all voters in the city who have been redistricted will be mailed a new precinct card thirty days before the election. Voter registration runs through Oct. 7.
Before qualifying began, many candidates publically announced their plans to run, leaving only the three seats held by councilmen Grif Chalfant, Anthony Coleman and Philip Goldstein as unopposed.
Councilwoman Annette Lewis, who has a master’s degree in professional communication from Southern Polytechnic State University, will be running for re-election from Ward 1, facing Marietta Board of Education member Stuart Fleming, who held a kick-off event on Saturday.
Lewis said it will be exciting when she goes to qualify on Monday because this election will be the first time running for City Council that she will face competition. Lewis has served on the council since 2006.
“You can’t help but be nervous,” Lewis said. “You don’t seek office, unless you really want to hold office.”
After winning a special election in July 2012 to finish Councilman Van Pearlberg’s term when he resigned to run for Cobb Superior Court judge, Councilman Andy Morris is being challenged by Marshall Dye for Ward 4. Dye is the owner of Court Makers Inc. on Marble Mill Road, Georgia’s largest tennis court-manufacturing company.
Ward 6 will have incumbent Councilman Jim King, a graduate of Vanderbilt University in bio-medical engineering, against Michelle Cooper Kelly, who has more than 20 years in managing regulatory compliance for Coca-Cola, Gatorade and Anheuser-Busch.
The only council seat left open is Ward 3, after Councilman Johnny Sinclair announced he would not run for re-election due to his booming real estate business. Sinclair’s colleague at Harry Norman Realtors, Johnny Walker, already has campaign signs with his name lining yards on Whitlock Avenue west of the Square.
However, James Eubanks, president of Wharton Management, Inc. that owns many commercial properties in Marietta, said he will also run for Ward 3.
Kennesaw and Acworth qualifications
Only three of the council posts in Kennesaw will be on the Nov. 5 ballot, including Post 3 held by Bruce Jenkins, a photography teacher who has lived in Cobb County for 27 years, Post 5, held by Jeff Duckett, who served in the Air Force for 13 years before becoming president of Handy Electric, Inc., and Post 4, held by Matthew Riedemann, founder of the real estate firm Ashford Capital Partners.
Riedemann was sworn into the Kennesaw City Council on July 1, filling Councilman Bill Thrash’s seat. Mayor Mark Mathews cast the deciding vote to appoint Riedemann over Thrash’s widow, Suzanne.
“While it was a great honor to be appointed by the Mayor and council in late June, it would be an even greater honor to be selected by the citizens of Kennesaw to continue to serve,” Riedemann said.
Each City Council member serves “at large,” meaning they represent the entire city and therefore are voted on by all residents of Kennesaw, not just people in a certain district.
Each post pays $1,000 a month.
One other city besides Marietta in Cobb County will include a slot for mayoral candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Acworth’s Mayor Tommy Allegood was elected to the city council in 2000, and then mayor in 2002. Allegood is finishing his third unopposed term as mayor.
Post 5, held by Alderman Tim Houston, a native of Acworth, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry, and Post 4, held by Tim Richardson, who attended Marietta High School and is a graduate of Chattahoochee Technical College, will be up for election as well.
The mayor is paid $1,700 monthly, with each alderman receiving $1,100 a month.
Powder Springs and Austell elections
Three council positions will be on the Nov. 5 ballot in Powder Springs, including Ward 1, represented by Cheryle Sarvis, Ward 2, represented by Al Thurman and Ward 3, represented by Nancy Hudson.
This past term was the first time Sarvis and Hudson served on the council. Thurman has been a council member since 2002. Each council member is paid $1,000 a month.
Mayor Pat Vaughn said the residents of Powder Springs seem to be pleased with development projects wrapping up around town, including the new Cultural Arts Center.
Vaughn said she has not heard any buzz about there being challengers in any of the races, but “there is always some apprehension of course around election time.”
Like Marietta, Powder Springs redistricted this past year with the new boundaries approved by the council in February.
The new ward map is available on the city’s website, www.cityofpowder
Austell is another city, like Kennesaw, that has council members who represent the entire city. However, only certain positions have this large reach, including the Post 1, held by Trudie Causey which will be up for election.
The two other council positions on the Nov. 5 ballot are elected from a specific district, including representatives Kirsten Anderson from Ward 1 and Martin Standard from Ward 3.
Eveler said she will be at the City Hall in Marietta during qualifying, but her Board of Elections staff of eight will be spread throughout all of Cobb County working with candidates and city staff.
Qualifying for the Nov. 5 election starts today and runs through Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed for an hour at lunch)*
* Marietta: Candidates must file with the city clerk at City Hall. Fees paid by each candidate for mayor is $540 and $390 each for the City Council.
* Kennesaw: Candidates must file at the City Hall Training Room. Fees paid by each candidate for council is $360.
* Acworth: Candidates must file with the city clerk’s office in City Hall. The fee is $612 for mayoral candidates and $396 for alderman.
* Powder Springs: Candidates must file in the 2nd floor conference room at City Hall. The fee for council positions is $360.
* Austell: Candidates must file in Suite 107 of the Threadmill Complex, at 5000 Austell-Powder Springs Road. The fee is $360.
*Austell’s qualification period is Tuesday through Thursday