We’re in the calm before the storm. It’s that period of time before municipal elections when everything is happening behind the scenes. Potential candidates are gathering support but doing so privately, holding their cards close. But come August it’s game on for local politics.
This blogger predicts challengers for all three of Alpharetta’s incumbent councilmen facing re-election this year. I’ve heard a few names mentioned but don’t imagine any will announce their candidacy until filing begins. In the meantime, here’s how I see the incumbents going into the Fall.
These two are thick as thieves. They sit next to each other and vote with each other almost every single time. And after four years of serving they can probably complete each other’s sentences. Yet they have two very contrasting personalities.
Kennedy can be sarcastic at times, almost to the point of being abrasive. He’s gotten better about it recently. But particularly in years past he was known to trade barbs with residents online.
Owens is the salesman of the bunch. How he choose engineering as a profession is beyond me. The guy could sell ice to an Eskimo. It’s a skill that’s come in handy in recent years. He’s often dispatched to speak with homeowner groups and others who are unhappy with something. It might be a zoning in their backyard or concerns over a changing downtown plan. He’s smooth and puts people at ease.
Expect both Kennedy and Owens to lean on positive development trends during their campaigns. They will tout projects like Avalon and Center Center. However they will be very careful not to mention residential components in the City Center project. Even the city will not speak of it until after November.
But the two may have offended small groups of constituencies this past year. Homeowners in Academy Park were not happy about the shrinking park and city hall location in the Center Center plan. And neighbors around the Sharp zoning in the northwest part of the city left that process with an unpleasant taste in their mouths. Will they take out their dissatisfaction at the polls?
I would have put money on a Mitchell re-election had you asked me before March. He’s a super friendly guy and probably the best retailer campaigner Alpharetta’s seen in quite some time.
But then the reality show came along. To say his appearance on Big Rich Atlanta made him vulnerable is an understatement. There’s blood in the water and opponents can smell it. If his antics on the show become a campaign issue (and you can bet they will), then he’s likely to blame bloggers for the attention and not himself.
Yet Mitchell’s vulnerability may be his best chance for re-election. How so? It could draw multiple challengers. Alpharetta’s asinine plurality voting rules would come into play, possibly propelling him to victory. Those concerned about his behavior may split their vote among his opponents. If he can garner 40-45% of the vote then he’s in like Flynn.
No, he’s not up for reelection this year. Cross is counting his lucky stars that he chose to run for Jim Paine’s old seat in 2011 and not the seat Mitchell got. He’ll need the extra two years to deal with his DUI charge before facing the voters again.
How do you see incumbents going into the 2013 city elections? Leave a comment!