On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Brookhaven residents head to the polls once again to choose the new city’s first mayor, and also complete the election of its first city council.
Here is a Patch analysis of the mayoral runoff election. On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Patch will analyze the three city council races that will be decided.
Election Night And Its Aftermath
For a while during the evening of Nov. 6, it looked as if J. Max Davis would win enough votes to win the four-candidate race with a runoff. At one point during the evening, Davis was leading the race with more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to win the contest outright.
The former head of BrookhavenYES, Davis was one of the leaders of the cityhood movement. He was also the new city’s first announced candidate for public office.
However, as more election night results came in, Sandy Murray chipped away at Davis’ lead, winning enough of the vote to force a runoff (Davis finished with 49 percent, to Murray's 36 percent. The rest of the vote went to Larry Danese and Thom Shepard, who finished third and fourth, respectively).
Less than 24 hours later, Murray was endorsed by newly elected District 2 city councilman Jim Eyre, who was the only candidate to outright win his race on Nov. 6. Eyre’s District 2 includes the Drew Valley and Ashford Park communities, whose neighborhoods formed the heart of the No City movement during the municipalization debate.
Eyre defeated another BrookhavenYES leader, Russell Mitchell, and a third candidate, Larry Hurst, winning all four of District 2's precincts.
Deborah Anthony, who unsuccessfully ran for District 3 city council, also has endorsed Murray.
Breaking Down The Vote
Davis won eight of Brookhaven’s 12 precincts, with Murray winning the remaining four. His strongest showings, in which he received more than 50 percent of the vote, came in all four of District 1’s precincts: Ashford Dunwoody Road; Ashford Parkside; Kittredge Brookhaven; and Montgomery Elementary. Davis also resides in District 1.
He also had a strong showing in Eyre’s District 2 Ashford Park Elementary precinct, winning with 49 percent of the vote, compared to Murray’s 34 percent.
Murray’s victories came in:
- The Cross Keys High precinct (districts 3 and 4), 43 percent to Davis’ 40 percent;
- The Montclair Elementary precinct (district 4), 56 percent to Davis’ 23 percent; and
- The Woodward Elementary precinct (district 4), 44 percent to Davis' 36 percent.
In the Briarwood precinct (districts 2, 3, and 4), Murray finished one percentage point behind Davis, 42 to 43 percent. She was also competitive in the Silver Lake precinct (district 3), finishing with 39 percent of the vote to Davis’ 44.
And she finished three percentage points behind Davis in the Skyland Brookhaven precinct (district 2), 41 percent to 44 percent.
So What Could Happen Next Tuesday?
DeKalb County had an overall turnout of 73 percent on Nov. 6. Of the new city of Brookhaven’s approximately 30,000 registered voters, 15,888 cast ballots in the mayor’s race, a 53 percent turnout.
According to data from the Georgia Secretary of State, turnout for runoffs are much lower than for general elections. However, because these are Brookhaven’s first-ever elections, there is no historical data for comparison.
There is no reason to expect Davis to lose any of his home, District 1 precincts in the runoff. Murray was not competitive in any of those areas.
Districts 3 and 4 have tightly contested city council runoff elections, so voters may be more motivated to turn out for their local elections. Murray’s strongest showings came in District 3’s Montclair precinct and District 4’s Woodward precinct.
The wild card is the race may lie in District 2. Murray opposed Brookhaven cityhood, as did Eyre, which may have made her a more attractive candidate to like-minded voters in those neighborhoods.
But District 2 is also the only race without a runoff. Davis won District 2’s Ashford Park Elementary precinct, while Murray was competitive in District 2’s remaining three precincts.
Whether Eyre’s support for Murray will motivate his core voters to go to the polls once again is the biggest question mark for Murray's campaign.
Brookhaven Runoffs: Who Has Your Support?
Murray Picks Up Another Endorsement In Mayor's Runoff.
Murray Endorsed By Brookhaven's First Elected Official.
Crowded Brookhaven City Council Races Result In Runoffs.
Bare-Knuckle Political Brawling Comes To District 2 Race.
Murray: I Voted 'No' On Cityhood But 100% Behind It Now.