12 candidates jump into Mableton council race on first day of qualifying

Jan. 18—Twelve candidates qualified to run for the Mableton City Council on Wednesday, according to Cobb Elections.

Elections for Mableton's mayor and six-member City Council are scheduled for March 21. Qualifying began Wednesday at the main elections office at 995 Roswell St. in Marietta, will continue Thursday and end Friday at 4:30 p.m. The hours for qualifying are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

Paul Chukelu, a physician, and Barry Tyler Krebs, a sales rep, qualified to run in District 3, which includes the area around Pebblebrook High School, in the center of the new city.

In District 4, bordered by East-West Connector to the north and Veterans Memorial Highway to the south, six candidates qualified to run as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Patricia Auch, an analytical chemist; Cassandra Lynn Brown, who works in IT sales; Heidi Dasinger, a business development manager; Shanequa Moore, a chief executive officer; Brian Patrick, a business owner; and Robb Pendleton, an associate casting director; qualified to run in District 4.

Meanwhile, three people qualified to run in District 5, which includes the area around South Cobb High School, and one qualified to run in District 6, the northernmost portion of the new city.

Cheryl Davis, who works for the state government; TJ Ferguson, an IT sales architect; and Stephanie Joy Loose, an accountant; qualified to run in District 5.

Debora Herndon, a legal practice specialist, is the lone candidate in District 6 after the first day of qualifying.

Qualifying fees are $900 for mayoral candidates and $600 for council candidates, to be paid by cash, personal check, money order or cashier's check made out to the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration.

Eight candidates had declared their intention to run for the City Council before qualifying began Tuesday, according to records from the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission.

Business executive Michael Murphy, former special assistant to the late Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce, is the only person who has declared his intention to run for mayor of Mableton, though the county did not list him as having qualified by Wednesday evening.

Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler told the MDJ her office will publish a list of the candidates who have qualified to run at 5 p.m. on each of the three days of qualifying.

Candidates must meet the qualifications laid out in the bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in April that put the Mableton cityhood referendum on November's general election ballot.

Candidates for mayor and City Council must be at least 21 years old and have lived within the city's boundaries for at least a year immediately prior to the election. City Council candidates must have lived in the council district in which they are running for at least a year immediately prior to the election.

Terms for the first council will be staggered, per the city charter, with three members serving from March 2023 to December 2025, while the other three will serve from March 2023 to December 2027. All members of successive councils will serve four-year terms, and no elected officials in Mableton will be permitted to serve more than three consecutive terms.

Council members will be elected by the residents of the district they are running to represent, while the mayor will be elected citywide.

The city of Mableton, comprising the southernmost portion of Cobb County, will offer four services — zoning, code enforcement, parks and recreation and sanitation — to roughly 77,500 people in the southernmost part of the county, between Austell and Smyrna, making it Cobb's largest city.

Residents in the city limits voted to incorporate in the Nov. 8 general election, when cityhood was approved with 13,191 "yes" votes (53%) to 11,694 "no" votes (47%).

The effort to incorporate Mableton was years in the making, with a group called MabletonYES!, formerly known as the South Cobb Alliance, leading the push for a referendum.

Three other cityhood efforts in Cobb — Lost Mountain, East Cobb and Vinings — failed in the May primary election.

Proponents of the effort, including Cobb school board member Leroy Tre' Hutchins and former state Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell, have argued cityhood will bring higher density to an area they believe needs more economic and residential development.