Following the Sept. 2 filing deadline for candidates, incumbent Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams had two challengers: Dale Boone, known as a professional competitive eater, and John Ernst Jr., the former chair of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics.
In District 1, incumbent City Councilwoman Linley Jones and challenger Eve Erdogan qualified, while City Councilman Bates Mattison will run unopposed in District 3.
Williams, one of the city’s founding council members, was appointed mayor in June when former Mayor J. Max Davis resigned to make an unsuccessful run for a seat in the state House of Representatives. Now she will ask voters to let her retain the office for the next four years.
Ernst is running in part as a reformer, pointing to recent controversy over the city’s handling of allegations against Davis that included an incident involving an employee that some city officials described as sexual harassment. Boone promises lower tax rates, crime rates and traffic congestion.
Williams was not yet campaigning this week in the wake of her mother’s death on Aug. 26. In an email, she wrote, “…I will not be campaigning or focusing on politics until my dear mother is laid to rest.”
Ernst, on his campaign website, pledges to cut property taxes and boost park space, including a “Brookhaven Beltline.” He also promises to “restore trust” in city government following the Davis scandal, including through regular town hall meetings.
“As a former chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, I understand what it takes to clean up government,” Ernst said on his website. “Secret meetings do not create a relationship of trust between residents and our city.”
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to serve,” Ernst said in a written statement provided by his campaign. “I’m running to make Brookhaven better by putting the city to work for its citizens.”
Boone has received attention, including on “The Tonight Show,” for his unusual career as a competitive eater who holds records for wolfing down hot dogs and other foods. Locally, he was a member of the Brookhaven Yes committee and is president of the Oakwood Neighborhood Association.
“As a competitive eater, I am no stranger to competition,” said Boone in written statement. “As mayor, I will fight for all of Brookhaven’s citizens, taxpayers and small businesses to ensure they have a strong voice in every decision made.”
“During my campaign for mayor, I will champion a greater quality of life by working to lower taxes, reduce traffic congestion and protect our community by addressing the crime that is afflicting Brookhaven,” Boone said in the statement.
In the District 1 council race, Jones is attempting to retain the seat she was appointed to in June when Williams left the position to become mayor. Erdogan, meanwhile, said she is running out of concern about that appointment.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the work I’ve done the last few months for the people of the city of Brookhaven,” said Jones, who works as an attorney. “I’m looking forward to the race and for the opportunity for voters to get to know me and the opportunity to hear from voters.”
Erdogan is an attorney and an executive at Chamblee-based ACT Investments, which invests in multifamily real estate projects—none of them in Brookhaven.
Erdogan said she is running “really to bring checks and balances” to city government, expressing concern that Jones was “appointed by the current mayor.” Williams nominated Jones to her former council seat after becoming mayor, and the council voted to appoint Jones.
“You kind of want to have a separation of power,” said Erdogan. Referring to Williams, she said, “I do like her and I do think she has a pretty good chance of winning.”
Mattison, one of the city’s founding council members, is the only candidate for his District 3 seat . He was not available for comment.
The city election will be held Nov. 3.