Commissioner Lisa Cupid has announced that she will run for county commission chair in 2020.
Cupid, the sole Democrat on the commission, was first elected to represent south Cobb’s District 4 in 2012.
In a post announcing her candidacy on Facebook, Cupid said she wants to move the county forward.
“Cobb County is on the move,” she wrote. “We have new challenges and new opportunities and as we move forward, we must do so in the best interest of all the county. We have an opportunity to embrace what is to come and continue to make our county the best place in Georgia to live, work and play. We cannot allow the comfort of the present to scare us from the possibilities of tomorrow.”
Cupid said in the post that her campaign will be holding a kickoff event at 6 p.m. April 10 at Embassy Suites on Akers Mill Road.
Cupid is the second candidate to publicly announce a run for commission chair. Incumbent Chair Mike Boyce, a Republican, has said he plans to seek a second term.
In an interview with the MDJ, Cupid said one of the main things she wants to address if elected is “ensuring that we have a strong base and foundation in how we’re making decisions.” Cupid said the county has “operated from crisis to crisis,” which doesn’t leave time to work on long-term planning.
“It’s difficult to focus on that as well as different economic or community development opportunities when we are struggling with our retention of our employees, particularly those in public safety,” Cupid said.
Cupid said recent election results, particularly in 2018, were a “strong indicator that there was support for more inclusive leadership in Cobb.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton carried Cobb County in 2016, taking about 47.9 percent of the vote to Donald Trump’s 45.8 percent. It was the first time a Democratic candidate for president won Cobb since Jimmy Carter.
However, Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson was re-elected in 2016 and received 52.8 percent of the vote in Cobb, leaving politicos wondering if the Clinton/Trump results were a fluke. Democrat Jim Barksdale took about 41.8 percent of the Cobb vote in the 2016 Senate race and Libertarian Allen Buckley received about 5.3 percent.
But the pattern continued in 2018: Democrat Stacey Abrams received about 54.1 percent of the vote in Cobb in the race for governor to Republican Brian Kemp’s 44.5 percent. Libertarian Ted Metz took about 1.3 percent of the Cobb vote.
Additionally, all Democrats running for statewide office carried Cobb County in the 2018 General Election.
“Looking at the county as a whole, the election results of last year did open my eyes to different possibilities of having leadership that can be more responsive to the entire county,” Cupid said. “The election results of two years prior with Hillary (Clinton) winning Cobb and while it was somewhat of an indicator, I don’t think that that was adequate for me to feel as if there was a great turn of a tide here in Cobb. But I think last year’s election was sobering for me to see that while I may be the only Democrat serving on the Board of Commissioners, that there may be a population that is more open to more diverse leadership than what we’ve seen across the county as a whole.”
Given the recent election results, Cupid has a chance at winning the race for chair, according to Kerwin Swint, interim dean of Kennesaw State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, director of the School of Government and International Affairs and political science professor.
“I think that the way that the county is changing and the recent election results we’ve seen have emboldened Cobb County Democrats. So from that standpoint, I guess its not surprising we’re seeing someone like Lisa Cupid looking at giving it a shot.”
Swint said the keys for Cupid to win are raising enough money to fund a strong campaign and mounting a significant get-out-the-vote effort.
“In a presidential year, turnout is going to be up. I’m not surprised she’s running, though. I think she’s emboldened by the recent turnout of Democrats in Cobb County.”
Qualifying for the 2020 race will take place in early March 2020, with the primaries set for May 19 and the General Election scheduled for Nov. 3, according to Janine Eveler, director of Cobb Elections.