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.