Doug DeRito vs Donald Mitchell

Doug DeRito ran a weak campaign for mayor. He hemmed and hawed about running, finally throwing his hat in pretty late. And as we all know, he finished third in a three way race.

But his 2011 run for mayor interrupted his third term on Council. This is an important detail as it paves the way for his campaign this year.

Alpharetta’s term limit rules restrict Councilmen from serving more than three consecutive terms in a single post. By running for mayor in 2011, DeRito reset the clock on his term limits. He’s free to run for his old job now, and could serve three more terms in the seat if voters will allow him. So perhaps rolling the dice for the Mayor’s job was a calculated strategy on his part, knowing he’d have a decent opportunity to fall back into the Post 1 seat.

Is this something Donald Mitchell might make a campaign issue out of? While DeRito isn’t violating the term limit rules, an argument could be made that he’s not following the spirit of the law.

Mitchell BRAA similar argument was made in 2010 when Jim Paine defeated John Monson for David Belle Isle’s vacant Council seat. Paine switched posts to skirt the term limit rules. Monson certainly made it a campaign issue then, but the voters didn’t seem to mind.

But this is just one of many issues that could surface in this campaign. Of course there’s Mitchell’s reality show appearance, a story you heard first on this blog. Or there is the controversy from 2010 involving DeRito, the Alpharetta CVB and the high school. This campaign could get nasty real quick.

But if discussion heads back toward the issues (and hopefully it will), things should trend DeRito’s way. He’s a policy wonk and loves the inner workings of municipal government. Mitchell is still getting his hands around the issues currently before Council. In a debate format, DeRito will eat Mitchell’s lunch.

But Mitchell is a terrific retail campaigner. He’s got a charming and friendly demeanor (his reality show character notwithstanding). If he knocks on enough doors this fall, Mitchell’s got a shot at this thing.

How do you think this campaign will play out? Will character be a driving issue? Or will issues separate the candidates?

6 Responses to “Doug DeRito vs Donald Mitchell”

  1. JB September 5, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    This is certainly a match up where neither is a good choice. Frankly, my main problem with DeRito is his intense desire to be in government. He moved here from out of state and immediately began campaigning for something. Anything. I don’t have much use for career politicians at any level.

  2. Mike September 5, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I’ve seen my share of “blowout” elections in Milton, for example JZB in 07 and Longoria in 2009 to name a few. But his loss has to be one of the biggest defeats in Alpharetta elections. He was in public office for ten years, almost double the time of the winner of that race. But, to only garner less than 20% is pretty bad, even in a three way race.

    To your point Lee, yes I do see him beating Mitchell in the debates. But are those speeches and debate performances going to be backed up by hard work on the campaign trail? I say no. History suggests no. Driving home from work last night, I’ve begun to see Mitchell signs go up around the city, specifically in downtown Alpharetta. He seems to have a head start on the campaign trail. There’s still time to make up.

    My main question about the DeRito candidacy is why does he want it? From what friends in Alpharetta have told me about him back in the mayors race is that he really didn’t show much effort on council. He rarely showed up to events and struggled to make council meetings on time.

    Mitchell knew he was going to draw opposition. He already seems to be out there working. I would have labeled the Mitchell re-election as a toss-up going into election season, mainly due to his campaign style keeping it close. I’d say that he hangs on and wins by a decent margin this go around.

  3. Parker September 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    Of course Mitchell is urgently pushing the campaign; he knows how vulnerable he is. Serious people are watching this council. People like CEOs and board members making decisions about where to locate their businesses. Given the choice between Derito’s experience and Mitchell’s foolishness, I’m going with Derito. We’ve had enough of Mitchell’s silliness. I don’t care if people think that Derito is boring. At least he is serious.

  4. CB October 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Although I now happily live in Alpharetta, I am a proud native New-Yorker. As a New-Yorker I would never, in a million years, vote for someone from New Jersey. That automatically should disqualify him. Never trust someone from a state that 1) relies on a major city from another state for financial, media, and tourism support and 2) doesn’t allow it’s citizens to pump their own gas.

  5. WD November 6, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Doug’s campaign used an automated dialing system to repeatedly call my house, despite two attempts on my part to reach his campaign to have the calls stopped. This, despite the fact that I do not live in nor do I vote in an Alpharetta precinct. I am tempted to move across the street and thereby INTO Alpharetta for two reasons – one, because I like that community (not the city so much), and, two, to insure that Doug Derito gets a -1 vote for every future election. To say his automated calling had the opposite of its intended effect would be mild.

  6. david November 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Voted for DeRito just to vote against buffoonery of Mitchell. Maybe Don should move to Toronto. He seems to have a lot in common with the mayor there.

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