JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Johns Creek is looking at a hefty bill for a special election to fill an empty City Council seat, but Mayor Mike Bodker has enlisted the North Fulton legislative delegation to help save the city $200,000.
When 6th District Congressman Tom Price was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s choice to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, that started dominoes falling. That included Councilman Bob Gray’s resignation to run for the now vacant congressional seat.
So a special City Council election will have to fill that slot.
The congressional election is scheduled April 18 with June 20 designated as the date for any runoff elections.
But there is a special election needed to fill that congressional seat. If the city can align its city special election to coincide with the congressional special election, the city will share the election costs with the rest of the 6th District. That would be a pittance compared to the cost of holding a single separate election.
It won’t take an act of Congress to make it happen, but it will take some lightning-quick legislation in the Georgia General Assembly.
“The Legislature prescribes certain days to hold special elections during the year. What I proposed to our legislative delegation is to align the dates we can hold our special election with the congressional race. They have seen the merit and are going to try to make it happen,” Bodker said.
“I made the appeal, but it is the delegation that has taken the ball and run with it.”
The legislative delegation is made up of all members of the Georgia General Assembly who have at least one precinct in Johns Creek. By gentleman’s agreement, each legislative delegation will bring forward matters of local legislation – affecting that city or county alone – that is combined at the end of the legislative session for a vote.
It is customary for the General Assembly to vote on all of these matters of local legislation with one vote rather than present them separately. Since these acts are brought by the communities and unanimously approved by the local delegation they are all approved on one vote.
So it will be up to the Fulton delegation to get the bill done in time.
“I was pleased the Fulton Delegation was so responsive to the idea.” Bodker said, adding that there are other positives beyond just saving taxpayer money.
“The turnout of Johns Creek voters is likely to be greater if the congressional race is on the ballot as well. I have always believed a good turnout of voters is the best way to get the best candidates elected,” Bodker said. “Saving the tax dollars is nice, but the real win is to have a good turnout.
“The higher the turnout, the better the decision for Johns Creek.”
The proposed bill would also allow Johns Creek to have any runoff coincide with a congressional runoff as well. The congressional races are attracting a number of candidates (see sidebar) which will likely produce a congressional primary runoff for June.