Lawrenceville residents learned one thing coming out of this week’s municipal election qualifying period: who their new mayor will be.
City Councilman David Still will become the city’s new mayor, taking over from retiring Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson, in 2020 after no one signed up to run against him in the open race. He is guaranteed election this fall because of the lack of opposition.
That, of course, also means Still and Johnson have months to prepare for a transition of power in Lawrenceville without having to wait for the results of a mayoral election.
“I’ve got four months to do that with her and the city staff, but she’s (still) the mayor (for the rest of this year),” Still said.
The qualifying period showed relative stability is likely in store for Lawrenceville for the next two years. That’s because Post 2 Councilwoman Victoria Jones, who was appointed in February to fill the unexpired term of Tony Powell, will also be unopposed as she seeks her first full term on the council.
In fact, the only contested race in Lawrenceville this fall will be the open City Council Post 1 race to fill the seat that Still is giving up to become mayor. Eric Hoskins, Glenn Martin and Austin Thompson qualified to run for that seat.
The fact that Lawrenceville will have an uncontested mayor’s race is part of a trend that has emerged in Gwinnett so far during qualifying in which many of the mayors in the county’s various cities have not drawn opposition.
Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris and Councilmen Kelly Kelkenberg and Greg Whitlock will not face opposition this year.
Berkeley Lake Mayor Lois Salter, Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist, Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason and Snellville Mayor Barbara Bender will not face opposition in their reelection bids either.
Like Duluth, Berkeley Lake only saw its incumbents qualify for the election, meaning that in addition to Salter automatically getting reelected, Council members Bob Smith and Rebecca Spitler, will also get new terms on the City Council.
Norcross Mayor Craig Newton had also not drawn an opponent as of mid-Thursday afternoon. Unlike most cities which concluded qualifying Wednesday, however, qualifying in Norcross does not end until Friday afternoon. Auburn, whose mayoral seat is also up for election this year, will also end its qualifying period Friday.
Information about who had qualified so far in Auburn was not immediately available Thursday afternoon and although Norcross officials confirmed Newton’s qualification and lack of opposition, they will not release the full list of qualified candidates until Friday afternoon.
One city where town leaders across the board will face opposition is Grayson. Mayor Allison Wilkerson will be challenged by Joseph Runyon while Post 2 Councilman Bob Foreman will be challenged by Kimberly Love and Donald Fairnot and Post 4 Councilwoman Linda Jenkins will be challenged by Jennifer Nichols.
But there were plenty of other offices in the various cities that will be contested in this year’s municipal elections.
In Braselton, District 1 Councilwoman Becky Richardson will be challenged by Joy Basham and Richard Mayberry. District 2 Councilman Tony Funari will face opposition from Jim Joedecke.
Meanwhile Buford City Commission Chairman Phillip Beard will not face an opponent this year, but school board seats held by Daren Perkins and Beth Lancaster will be contested this year. Lancaster did not qualify for reelection so her seat will be an open race contested by Matt Peevy, David Jerome Carter and Honglien T. Diaz. Perkins will face opposition from Melissa Ferris-Ozkan.
One of Dacula’s two council races will be contested. Councilwoman Susan Robinson will face opposition from Ann R. Mitchell. Councilman Hubert Wells will be unopposed in his reelection bid, however.
One of Lilburn’s two council races will be contested as well. While Councilwoman Lindsay Voigt is unopposed for the Post 1 seat, Councilman Scott Batterton will be challenged by John Patrick Abellera in the Post 2 race.
Loganville had five people qualifying for three at-large City Council seats. Council members Jay Boland and Linda Dodd are among the group, which also includes Misty Cox, Bill DuVall and Femi Oduwole.
In addition to Mason being unopposed in his bid for another term as Peachtree Corners’ mayor, Councilmen Phil Sadd and Alex Wright will also not face challengers in their reelection bids. The only contested race in the city will be the City Council Post 5 race, in which Councilwoman Lorri Christopher will face Cherlon Mathias-Day.
While Bender wil not face an opponent in Snellville’s mayoral race, Post 1 Councilman Dave Emanuel will face Cortez Riden while the Post 2 seat — which will be an open race since current Councilman Roger Marmol did not seek reelection — will be contested by Wanda Blow, Solange Destang, Brittany Marmol and Thomas S. Mwambay.
Two of Sugar Hill’s three City Council races will be contested. Post 1 Councilman Brandon Hembree will face Marjorie Prophete while Post 2 Councilman Marc Cohen will face Amber Chambers. Post 3 Councilwoman Susie Gajewski-Walker will be unopposed.
Although Burnette will be unopposed for another term as Suwanee’s mayor, Councilman Doug Ireland will face Heather Hall in the Post 1 race while Councilman Dick Goodman will face Larry Pettiford in the Post 2 race.