Johnson kicks off campaign for fourth term
Ken Watts | 10/11/2013, 6 a.m.
District 3 DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson wants a fourth term in office.
Johnson, who has been in office for 11 years, kicked off his re-election bid on Oct. 10 with a rally at the Porter Sanford III Center for the Performing Arts in Decatur.
He told a lunch-hour crowd of about 50 supporters outside the center that he’s getting an early start because of a federal court order that may affect Georgia’s 2014 election dates.
Johnson, who was elected in 2002, was unopposed for his second and third re-election bids. At press time Thursday, he had no announced opposition.
He told supporters that his re-election campaign will focus on youth recreation and development programs as a crime prevention measure, economic development in South DeKalb, education initiatives, public safety improvements, and strengthening county services. He said DeKalb County is about to experience a renaissance.
“We’ve been through two wars, the Wall Street crash and a recession. But now the economy’s coming back, we have a $30 million in reserve, and we can leverage resources to accomplish some positive things,” he said.
Johnson cited the county’s current $7 million renovation of the Candler Road corridor an as an example of progress.
Former Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell was among supporters at the rally. Bell, a former Atlanta police chief who currently serves on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission, said he will help Johnson, a longtime friend, in any way that he can.
“He’s the one commissioner that I know in the Atlanta region who knows his district like the back of his hand,” Bell said. “You can ask him anything about this district and he is aware of it. And to me that is the truest form of public service to know the district where you live and the people you serve.”
Because of the expected federal ruling, Johnson and other candidates may have to adjust their fundraising and campaign schedules.
On July 11, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ordered Georgia’s federal primary elections for U.S. House and Senate moved up from July 20 to May 20. Jones made the ruling in a federal lawsuit that asked for at least 45 days between the primary and runoff to allow more time for military and absentee ballots to be distributed and returned.
Maxine Daniels, DeKalb’s election supervisor, said Thursday that the state will likely follow suit to avoid the cost of administering additional election days.
“If we don’t move the local elections up to the new federal dates, we’ll end up holding primaries and runoffs on four days instead of two,” she said. “It costs the county between $300,000 and $500,000 to administer an election.”
Daniels said the Georgia General Assembly has to decide in its 2014 session whether to change state law to allow counties to follow the new dates.