Let’s Talk About Cumming’s Election Results

Two years ago, Cumming’s mayor and four of its five city councilmen were first elected in the 1960s and 1970s. They were the old guard that protected Cumming from invading city slickers and out-of-state riffraff. Their job: ensure Cumming rejected Atlanta’s ever-expanding influence that threatened their pure, pastoral way of life. That all started unraveling in 2015.

Here was the makeup of Cumming’s city council before the 2015 election:

  • Mayor Ford Gravitt was elected mayor in 1970
  • Councilman Quincy Holton was elected in 1969
  • Councilman Lewis Ledbetter was elected in 1970
  • Councilman Rupert Sexton was elected in 1970
  • Councilman Ralph Perry was elected in 1979
  • John Pugh was elected in 1993

The 2015 election marked a turning point in the city. Newcomers had effectively transformed the southern portion of Forsyth County into traditional suburbia and the slow march north threatened Cumming’s city limits. That year saw new blood on the city council for the first time in 22 years. Residents awoke on November 4, 2015 to discover three new city councilmembers.

Then yesterday happened.

Mayor Ford Gravitt’s 46 year tenure aburptly ended by a political newcomer promising more to Cumming’s downtown than the county’s jail and courthouse and a Dairy Queen. Two incumbent city councilmen lost (one of which was elected in 2015) to newcomers. Voters profoundly rejected the status quo.

All that remains of the old guard is Councilman Lewis Ledbetter and his reelection is coming soon.

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Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

I’m no “throw out the incumbents” proponent but 46 years in the same elected position is just WAY TOO LONG.

Thats a recipe for how to never grow an area.

Will Durant
Will Durant

Those tenures are even more remarkable when you look at the history. 1969 was 18 years prior to Hosea Williams’ march in Cumming. Even in ’93 or 4 I still had to explain to my young daughter why the man dressed in the silly robes and pointy hat was collecting money at a traffic light in Cumming…