The race for Smyrna’s first new mayor since 1985 will go on for another month as Derek Norton and Ryan Campbell head to a runoff.
The pair were the top two in a five-candidate race, and will face off again Dec. 3 because no one eclipsed the 50 percent plus one threshold. Norton came close, winning 3,724 votes or 47.1% of the total. Campbell finished with 1,957 votes, good for 24.75%, while Steve Rasin (1,732 votes, 21.9%), Laura Mireles (394 votes, 4.98%) and Alex Backry (100 votes, 1.26%) each were eliminated.
Campbell, who is 26 and co-owns a restaurant along with his father, has said he wants to focus on Smyrna’s next 20 years, envisioning an arts district near downtown and becoming an “organizer in chief” as mayor.
During a debate at Whitefield Academy, Norton emphasized his experience as a city councilman and promised to slow Smyrna’s densification. Norton also built up a big lead in fundraising, bringing in over $100,000 in contributions as of Sept. 30. Campbell had been second with $36,101, mostly through a loan he made to his campaign and through donations from his parents.
Each will now draw on their campaign funds again and try to get the most supporters to the polls in early December. The winner will serve as Smyrna mayor from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2023.
Haisten Willis is a freelance writer who lives in Smyrna with his wife, daughter and dog. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from California State University, Fresno, serves on the board of SPJ Georgia and even rides a bike when time allows.