Incumbents are tossed aside in South Fulton

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:55am
By: Ben Nelms

Tuesday night was nothing if not astounding, as votes tallied across the four cities of southwest Fulton brought a plethora of results in the form of upsets, close calls and runoffs set for Dec. 4. In all, history was made and the Nov. 6 vote was one for the record books.


The winds of change blew strong two years ago in Palmetto when three challengers ran against three incumbents and won. The winds of change continued to blow Tuesday and in its wake John Miller, who resigned his council seat half way through his term to run for mayor, defeated long-time Mayor Clark Boddie, a fixture on the Palmetto political landscape after serving as mayor since 1987. In a race that was nothing short of a sea-change, Miller received 377 votes at 61.5 percent while Boddie took 236 votes, or 38.5 percent.

Palmetto also continued a transition in its city council, after two of the three incumbents up for re-election decided not to qualify for the race. Retaining his council seat in the at-large election was incumbent Leon Sumlin, receiving 351 votes at 21 percent. Palmetto’s two other winners in the three-seat race were Lorraine Allen, who took the night with 402 votes, or 24 percent, and Natalie Beavers-McFadden, received 334 votes at 20 percent. Also running were Hunter Gillam, who received 265 votes at 15.9 percent and Scott Cannon, who garnered 317 votes at 19 percent.

The races in Palmetto saw a 29 percent voter turnout, with 615 out of 2,121 registered voters going to the polls. Eleven provisional ballots were not included in the Palmetto vote count.

Chattahoochee Hill Country

In the new city of Chattahoochee Hill Country, 52.4 percent of the 1,568 registered went to the polls.

The race for mayor will be determined in the Dec. 4 runoff between Tom Reed, who received 384 votes, or 45.2 percent, and Don Hayes, who received 256 votes at 30.1 percent. Rocky Reeves took 209 votes at 24.6 percent.

In District 1, John Taylor won with 18 votes against Ruby Foster, who received 12 votes.

The District 2 race will also see a runoff in December between Julie Petty Wall, who received 60 votes, or 32.1 percent, and Carl Hattaway, who took 51 votes at 27.3 percent. Remaining candidates in the District 2 race included Doris Boylen with 42 votes at 22.4 percent, Mark Prater with 21 votes at 11.2 percent and L.J. “Mickey” Tierney with 13 votes, or 6.9 percent.

Also destined for a runoff in District 3, Laurie Searle received 90 votes at 37.3 percent and David Hanson received 56 votes, or 23.2 percent. Other District 3 candidates included Alton Powell receiving 46 votes at 19.1 percent and Anacleto “Cleto” Montelongo, who received 49 votes at 20.3 percent.

The District 4 race, with only two candidates running, saw Faye Peek Godwin defeating Wayne Stradling 116 votes to 66.

And in the District 5 race, Ernie Henderson will face Rodney Peek in the Dec. 4 runoff. Peek received 76 votes at 38.8 percent while Henderson received 69 votes, or 35.2 percent. Also a District 5 candidate, Hugh Tyer took 51 votes at 26 percent. The District 5 race had four write-in votes.

The vote in Chatt Hills was continued under court order until 8:10 p.m. due to discrepancies with the Elections Division voting system.

Union City

Upsets were also the order in the race for two council seats in Union City, where incumbent council members Alisa King and long-time council member Helen Turner were defeated by Vince Williams and Brian Jones. Williams took 445 votes, or 30 percent, while Jones garnered 390 votes at 26 percent. Turner received 235 votes at 16 percent and King received 237 votes, or 16 percent. Williams was a favorite of Mayor Ralph Moore, who campaigned for his election to the council.

Other candidates in the seven-way race for two council seats included Sandra Brittian, Ricky Ryles and Retina Dawson. Brittian received 84 votes at 6 percent, Ryles took 62 votes at 4 percent and Dawson received 32 votes, or 2 percent. Dawson announced several weeks ago that she would not seek election but would, instead, support the re-election of Turner and King. Also leading up to the race, Williams and Ryles resigned their positions on the city’s Planning Commission to run for the council.

Union City had a 20 percent voter turnout, with 1,486 or 7,258 voters participating.

The incorrect reporting of Union City elections results by some Atlanta media outlets caused confusion over the Union City vote well into Thursday. Some winners were shown to have lost while some losers were shown to have won. The trouble began when Fulton County had run a mock election two weeks ago to test its electronic voting system, according to Elections supervisor April Pye. Technical staff did not clear the machines prior to the Tuesday vote, so the initial mock numbers showed up as real votes and were subsequently reported by media outlets that did not check by with the Elections Division for updated returns. The Citizen verified all return figures with Elections staff prior to posting the correct numbers on its website.


In Fairburn, one of the three at-large council races was race nearly too close to call until provisional votes were counted Thursday. Incumbent Ron Alderman won handily, followed by Elizabeth Hurst. Potentially up for grabs was the remaining seat, where incumbent Marian Johnson won by five votes over challenger Jeff Couch.

Alderman received 425 votes at 20.7 percent, while Hurst received 399 votes at 19.5 percent and Johnson received 347 votes, or 16.9 percent. Challenger Jeff Couch received 342 votes at 16.7 percent. Long-time incumbent Frankie Arnold, who received 276 votes at 13.5 percent, will not be returning in January. Remaining candidates included Geral Todd with 191 votes at 9.3 percent and Bryan Paden with 71 votes at 3.5 percent.

Fairburn had a 14.9 percent voter turnout, with 813 of 5,460 registered voters going to the polls Tuesday. Of the 21 provisional ballots included in the total, 14 had to be rejected due to ineligibility issues.

Couch said Friday he would request a re-count of the vote.

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