History shows city council re-election likely despite pay hike

8:40 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- Kasim Reed will automatically be the frontrunner when he runs for re-election next year. But the mayor won't be the only one.

Every city council member who decides to run for re-election next year will also become a frontrunner. And Monday's city council decision to raise its own members' salaries likely won't change that, says former city councilman Derrick Boazman.

"This is going to be negligible," Boazman said of the pay hike. "It won't have any bearing on the 2013 race at all. And I think the city council knows that."

For the last twelve years, Atlanta city council members seeking re-election have had a 95 percent success rate at winning. When they run, they average 59 percent of the vote, according to our research.

Since 2001, only one city council member seeking re-election has lost. And that was Sherry Dorsey, whose husband, former DeKalb County sheriff Sid Dorsey, was facing a murder charge at the time. Aside from Mrs. Dorsey, city council members running for re-election since 2001 have been impossible to dislodge from office.

The question is whether this week's pay raise issue will make voters less forgiving. On 11 Alive's Facebook page, hundreds of angry readers denounced the 52 percent pay raise when we first posted it-- in a collective expression of apparent genuine anger.

"People have a legitimate gripe," Boazman said. He recalled that he also had to face voters after he OK'd a much-smaller city council raise.

"I won with 85 percent of the vote in the next election," Boazman said with grin.

Next year's city council election will take place one full year from now.

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