Nine Candidates in Fulton to Replace Darnell on Commission


emma darnell(APN) ATLANTA — There are nine candidates in the September 17, 2019 Special Election to replace Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell (District 6), who passed away in May 2019.


Qualifying began on June 24 and ended on June 28, 2019.


“While it will be impossible to replace the late Commissioner Darnell, it is important to hold the election to fill the District 6 seat at the earliest opportunity, and I fully expect that an array of candidates will be interested,” Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Robb Pitts said in a statement. 


“Until the time that a new Commissioner is elected, it will be my responsibility, along with the late Commissioner’s staff, to ensure that District 6 continues to be represented.”


If necessary, a Runoff will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.


The winner of the election will serve the remainder of Darnell’s unexpired term, which runs through December 31, 2020.


The candidates includes former Commissioner Gordon Joyner; Khadijah Abdur-Rahman; former College Park Councilman Joe Carn; Sojourner Marable Grimmett; Sonia Francis-Rolle; Yoshina Colbert Bradford; Rafer Johnson; Carl Winfred Dorsey, Jr.; and Warren C. Head, Jr.


Former Commissioner Bill Edwards, who was redistricted into the same district as Commissioner Darnell and ran against her in 2014, now serves as the Mayor of the City of South Fulton, the newly created city.


District 6 covers much of the southern part of Fulton County.  It includes the unincorporated portion of the County, Fulton Industrial Boulevard; and the entirety of the cities of Chattahoochee Hills, Palmetto, Fairburn, and Hapeville.  In addition, it also covers the majority of the cities of College Park, South Fulton, and Union City; and portions of East Point and Atlanta.




Former Commissioner Gordon Joyner previously served a total of four terms on the Fulton County Commission, including two district terms and two at-large terms.


Joyner was appointed to an open seat in 1987 that was created when the now-late Commissioner Reginald Eaves was found to have committed an ethics violation related to a zoning matter.


He then was reelected to that seat, which at the time was District 5, but later resigned to care for his mother, who passed away shortly thereafter.


The following year, Joyner ran for, and was elected to, a Countywide seat that was created when then-Commissioner Martin Luther King, III, ran for County Chairperson.  He served until 2000.


Commissioner Joyner has an extraordinary resume, with a focus on fair housing and equal opportunity.  As a Commissioner, he authored and secured the unanimous passage of the first local government Civil Rights law in the State of Georgia, which was Fulton County’s Fair Housing Ordinance.


Joyner served as the Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing Enforcement, and more recently headed the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity.


Joyner has served as a Judge on the Atlanta Municipal Court, and as Chairman and Chief Registrar of the Fulton County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.




Khadijah Abdur-Rahman is a former sales executive and current business owner.  She served on the Board of Directors of Atlanta Legal Aid and the Fulton County Commission on Elderly Affairs.


Abdur-Rahman previously ran in 2000 for the open seat to which Bill Edwards was elected.  That open seat was created after then-Commissioner Michael Hightower pled guilty to accepting a bribe from a county contractor.




Joe Carn served as the Ward II Councilman for College Park from 2005 to 2017, when he was unseated by Derrick Taylor.  He currently works in the Fulton County Solicitor’s Office.


In 2014, 11 Alive television news reported that Carn purchased a home from College Park for thirty thousand dollars, which the Mayor had opposed as a possible insider deal.




Sojourner Marable Grimmett works for the National Church Residences and is a Board Member of Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority.


Previously, she served as Director of Constituent Services for the Fulton County Chairman; and as Senior Public Affairs Officer for Fulton County Government.




In 2018, Sonia Francis-Rolle previously announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, but her name did not appear on the ballot.


She and her husband are co-founders of Velaire Washington Enterprise, Inc., an educational consulting company.




Yoshina Colbert Bradford is a real estate broker.




Rafer Johnson works for Delta Airlines.  He has previously run for State House of Representatives and Mayor of the City of South Fulton.  He was an advocate for the creation of the City of South Fulton and has campaigned in support of former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves.




Carl Winfred Jorsey, Jr., is the nephew of Dr. Joyce Dorsey, the CEO of Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority; and of affordable housing advocate Hattie Dorsey.  He works in the entertainment industry.




Warren C. Head, Jr., is a retiree.


(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)

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