Let the political dance begin.

The appointment of former Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) to a DeKalb County judgeship created an opening for a new state lawmaker to represent District 80, which covers most of Brookhaven and parts of Sandy Springs and Chamblee. A special election is scheduled for July 14.

The race to succeed Jacobs could result in changes at City Hall.

Candidates officially file with the Secretary of State’s office from June 1 through 3 to run in the special election for the District 80 seat. After the announcement of Jacobs’ appointment, three candidates quickly announced they planned to run for the seat – lawyer Taylor Bennett; lawyer Catherine Bernard, who ran against Jacobs in 2014; and lawyer and Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis.

Davis’ candidacy will start a game of political musical chairs at City Hall.

Once Davis files to run for the House seat, he must resign as mayor, Brookhaven City Attorney Tom Kurrie said.
Davis announced during the Brookhaven City Council meeting May 26 that he was presiding over what would likely be his last council meeting. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being your mayor,” he said. “To me, this has been the best experience of my life, as far as public service.”

After the mayor’s resignation, Kurrie said, Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Chase Williams will chair a meeting to choose Davis’ successor as mayor. Because Davis has less than a year remaining in his term of office, his successor will be elected by the remaining council members.

The council can elect anyone in the city, including sitting members of council, Kurrie said.

If they do choose one of their own, the next step can get complicated.

If the council chooses one of the two sitting council members with more than a year remaining in their terms – Councilmen Joe Gebbia or John Park – then a special election will be called to fill that councilor’s seat, Kurrie said.

But if they choose one of the council members with less than a year remaining in office – Williams or Councilman Bates Mattison – then the new mayor will appoint his or her own replacement, Kurrie said.

Stay tuned.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.