Jones Drops Council Bid, Endorses Archibong in Atlanta District 5
(APN) ATLANTA — Jon Jones, a candidate for the Atlanta City Council District 5 seat currently held by Natalyn Archibong, has dropped out of the race with only three weeks left.
Archibong–the most progressive member of the Council, according to the APN Atlanta City Councilmember Scorecard–faced four challengers in this November’s General Election, including Christian Enterkin, Jones, John Paul Michalik, and Matt Rinker. Now she only faces three.
“The seriousness of this race has escalated with our District witnessing our sixth death from violent crime. That’s gonna be priority number one to face. There’s only one candidate with twelve years of experience working with our police department addressing rising crime and that’s Natalyn Archibong,” Jones told Atlanta Progressive News in an interview.
“The other reason, mathematically it just makes sense. There are five of us in the race. It seems it’s gotten divisive. If I stay in the race, it could fracture the vote. It could lead to District 5 losing… someone who’s genuinely worked on their behalf, and replaced with a candidate that’s unknown, Matt Rinker or Christian Enterkin. They stand on their promises, but they don’t come close to the record that Natalyn has,” Jones said.
Jones said his exiting the race could prevent a costly Runoff Election from occurring. “Every election costs money. I can prevent taxpayer dollars being spent on an unnecessary election,” Jones said.
“I have learned a great deal both from candidates in this race and the people in the District I had a chance to meet and talk to, I learned what issues are pressing to them: It’s less legislative based and more city service based. They want less congestion in the roads, green communities, safe communities, and a Councilperson that responds,” Jones said, adding that constituents say Archibong has been consistently very responsive.
As previously reported by APN, Jones entered the race to promote his concept for digital democracy, an online portal for people to propose and critique legislative proposals for the City Council of Atlanta.
Jones says he believes he has had the opportunity to get his concept out there.
“People have been very candid about their feedback. There are many skeptics who feel it will marginalize members who don’t have access to computers. I would physically outreach those. There’s still a real concern, a disconnect between some parts of District Five who have access and those who are not as fortunate. That’s a real concern and I didn’t know that prior to the election,” Jones said.
Jones said he was surprised to see Enterkin and Michalik enter the race, noting that only Rinker was challenging Archibong when Jones entered the District 5 race.
“I wholeheartedly support the ability of citizens to participate in the democratic process. It gets messy at times but that’s the nature of government,” he said.
“Something that Natalyn and I share, we believe input and feedback from the community is essential. I hope to work with Natalyn or any Member of Council who is looking to support and facilitate the process of getting people represented accurately in City Hall,” he said.
“This election has given me an opportunity to really appreciate what Natalyn does on a daily basis and I commit myself to helping her continue the legacy she’s created of good deeds and positive works that she’s proven in District Five and Greater Atlanta. I personally think she’s done a wonderful job,” he said.
However, Jones said he was disappointed in the attacks that Enterkin and Rinker have engaged in towards Archibong.
“I feel as though most Americans think that’s fair game. That’s a testament to how badly our expectations of politics and government have become,” he said.
“Matthew and Christian have read from a how to run for public office playbook. They’ve been attacking the incumbent because they think they should, they think that’s how you win. That’s the saddest thing about American politics, that you can’t get ahead unless you tear someone else down,” he said.
“Any real candidate can stand on their message alone,” he said.
Jones, 27, currently serves as a pricing analyst. He holds a BA in Marketing from Rutgers University and an MPA from the University of California Los Angeles.
“I’m humbled,” Archibong said in response to the news.
“I’m deeply appreciative of a young man with so much promise and intellectual capacity that he has decided to support my reelection bid,” she said.
“A couple of things have been outstanding about Jon. One is his decorum. This part of the election cycle has been particularly divisive and negative, which leads to me to the second thing, Jon stays on message,” she said.
“Jon is very focused on what he brings to the table. The direct democracy, he means that and he wants to share it with the public. Here’s a young man who wants to have more public engagement – how honorable is that?” Archibong said.
Regarding the digital democracy concept, “I think it’s interesting. I don’t believe that every legislative action–we may have some matters that are about correcting an account number or more ministerial perfunctory kind of things–would be appropriate,” she said.
“I think when it’s a wedge issues, a lot of controversy, consternation, and concern, I can see where having a platform where you could gauge your constituents, I think that information would be helpful,” she said.
“I think that the impact [of Jones’s exit from the race] is, one, in talking to Jon, he acknowledged I had the most experience and am most qualified to serve. I think his endorsement at this point in the election is an affirmation of that, she said.
“It will give voters an opportunity to look at the field and the experience deficit of those challengers in comparison to me, and make the right choice,” she said.
“I encourage those who support Jon’s direct democracy model to join the Archibong team – I think we can find a common platform because I’m all about community engagement,” she said.