Elmore declares victory in Avondale mayoral election
This story has been updated.
By Carey O’Neil, contributor
Jonathan Elmore declared victory in the Avondale Estates mayor race after Tuesday’s election.
“It’s exciting, I’m looking forward to it,” he said Tuesday evening. “I think people see in me positive change.”
The city sent out unofficial results from DeKalb County Tuesday night showing 968 votes counted from the two precincts. DeKalb County said it would have official results by Friday.
Elmore received more than 45% of the total votes.
Elmore, an architect by trade, is only elected for an eight-month term rather than the typical four-year term. Tuesday’s election was held to fill the vacancy left by former mayor Ed Rieker, who resigned in October to take a university teaching job.
The city’s new mayor has a lot of existing city projects already piled on his plate, including a pending major mixed-use development and looming annexation. But Elmore said he’s ready to take on all the city’s ongoing projects. He hopes to push the city forward by fostering economic development and starting an education committee to improve relationships between Avondale citizens and their schools.
“The more we support those resources, the better they support us,” he said. “Getting the education committee organized with a mission, with an agenda, I think that can happen pretty quickly.”
“Avondale won tonight and I’ve already told Jonathan I support him and I’d help him if I can wherever he needs me,” Jim Hutchens said after hearing the results Tuesday night. “Avondale’s going to have to step up. I think Jonathan can. The four members who are on the board now, I love them and they can do the job.”
Hutchens came in second place with more than 31% of the votes in the unofficial results.
Elmore said he was proud of not just his own campaign, but the way his four competitors handled the lead up to the election.
“They’re all good guys. I like all of them and I appreciate the fact that we all kept it clean and were respectful to each other,” he said. “I think they all would be good mayors.”
Annexation was a major division between Hutchens, who opposes the move, and Elmore, who supports the annexation plan adopted by the city. Hutchens said he plans to run for public office again in November – if not for mayor, than for commissioner. He said Elmore will do a great job as mayor, but cautioned against rushing into annexation too quickly, citing the unknown variables that can come along with such a project.
Elmore said he will run to hold on to his seat in November. He always supported the annexation process, which could come to a vote at the end of the year, and said he’s excited about the potential it has to improve the city.
“Our community is going to stay exactly the same. It’s not going to cause any harm to our community or its character,” he said. “There’s strength in diversity. These communities want to be part of ours and they’ll strengthen us and we’ll strengthen them.”
Elmore said he expects plenty of challenges in the coming months.
“It’s just the challenge of economic development, hooking up landowners, developers, landlords, tenants, just trying to make those connections, to find out what does the community want, what do the landowners want to do, to feel that all out and put it together,” he said.
“I want to steward that development into our city as best I can,” said Elmore.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the number of votes cast. It was 968 total votes cast.