The announcement that long-time Mayor Eva Galambos plans to retire at the end of her term has opened the field for new candidates for mayor. But, so far, no new faces have emerged.
Former Sandy Springs City Councilman and state legislator Rusty Paul was the first to announce his candidacy.
Standing before a group of Sandy Springs civic leaders, Paul positioned himself as a likely successor to the popular Galambos. Flanked by Galambos and City Council members Tibby DeJulio, Dianne Fries and Gabriel Sterling, Paul told the crowd gathered at Morgan Falls Overlook Park on April 22 that he would continue the direction of the city with an emphasis on community improvements, lower water rates, and replacing deteriorating apartment complexes.
“I’m fully aware that the person who succeeds Eva Galambos as mayor is sort of like coming in after Bear Bryant,” Paul said, referring to the legendary University of Alabama football coach. “There’s certain shoes that can’t be filled.”
Though Paul was the first to announce a candidacy for mayor, at least two others are considering a run to succeed Galambos.
City Councilwoman Karen Meinzen- McEnerny confirmed that she is considering getting into the race. McEnerny has served as the District 6 City Council representative since 2006, shortly after the city incorporated. Her background is in commercial real estate.
Another potential candidate is Bob Brown, who owns Red Baron’s Antiques. Brown also ran for mayor in 2008. Brown said he is considering a run, but hasn’t made his candidacy official.
With McEnerny vacating her District 6 seat, there will be an opportunity for newcomers to put their names into the mix. Andy Bauman, one of the founders of the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, confirmed he will be running for the open seat.
The filing deadline for municipal elections is Aug. 30, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
Paul said Galambos encouraged him to run for the office, and he intends to mirror her leadership style. He served as one of the city’s founding council members from 2005-2009. He is director of government affairs and public policy practice at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, a law firm. Paul is a lobbyist for the firm’s clients.
The press conference was attended by a number of business, civic and political leaders of Sandy Springs.
Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe jokingly likened the event to a coronation, as Galambos steps down and offers her support to Paul.
–Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this report.