When Voters Revolt: A Look At Cobb and Dekalb County

It has been a very exciting year in Georgia politics to say the least! We wanted to draft a blog post that discusses some of the most recent local elections in both Dekalb and Cobb county. We sincerely believe that they are a sign of what is to come in the municipal elections which will be held in Atlanta next year.

Cobb County

Former Cobb Commissioner Tim Lee

It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Tim Lee the King of Cobb County. He was initially elected to serve as a Cobb County Commissioner in 2002, and was elected as Chairman in 2010. Over the years, Tim Lee has been able to amass widespread influence and power. A reflection of this can be seen in his direct involvement in the deal that eventually led the Atlanta Braves to move to Cobb County to build their new stadium. In the end it was this decision that eventually led to his political demise.

Many voters in Cobb County were extremely angry about how things were handled by Tim Lee in regards to public financing that the Atlanta Braves received in order to build the new stadium and mixed use development. Much of the negotiation that occurred between the government and the Braves was done in secret, and lacked transparency. Citizens of Cobb County objected to such a rushed process, especially when $400 million in public funds was at stake.

Despite being outspent, Mike Boyce was able to eventually defeat Tim Lee in a runoff. One key to his success centered on focusing heavily on grassroots outreach to voters in Cobb County. The Boyce campaign reached over 100,000 voters by phone, as well as door to door canvassing. Mike Boyce garnered 64% of the vote, and went on to defeat Commissioner Tim Lee.

Dekalb County

Former Dekalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton

Dekalb County has been plagued with corruption, wasteful spending, and a host of issues as it relates to their county government for a number of years. Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton was one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election this year. She faced numerous ethics complaints, from using the public’s money to pay her then-boyfriend $34,000 in consulting services to using county employees at a political fundraising event to name a few. She represented the entrenched and powerful old guard in Dekalb County politics.

Business development manager and Army veteran Steve Bradshaw took Sutton on this year, just as he had in 2012. Though he suffered defeat then, the tide turned in this case. Voters eventually became so fed up with the corruption that they decided something needed to be done to restore faith in government. Steve Bradshaw eventually defeated Sharon Barnes-Sutton in the general election, as well as the runoff.

Final Word

These two examples highlight the fact that voters can and will rise up and make their voices heard from a political perspective in certain situations. In politics, timing is everything. We believe firmly that many credible Atlanta City Council and Mayoral candidates have a shot against entrenched, complacent, and out of touch incumbents. Though it takes hard work, an aggressive grassroots organizing campaign can turn out the voters despite the barrage of direct mail and TV advertising campaigns that a powerful incumbent might hurl at a credible challenger. It is crucial that ethical and hardworking candidates have the resources necessary to secure victory in their respective elections. The Georgia New Guard is focused fully on raising funds from individuals all over the state and country, then efficiently utilizing those funds to support state and local candidates in Georgia. The Atlanta municipal elections will lay the groundwork for how the city of Atlanta will grow and develop for years to come. It is critical that the right candidates have the resources and exposure needed to get them over the top! That is our mission, plain and simple. Consider donating to our cause, as we plan for a very busy election season in 2017! We are also conveniently located on the CrowdPac website as well.

Until next time,

Team Georgia New Guard