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Political Season: Qualifying Starts Today

These guys say they won't run again: Incumbents Michael Payne of the Avondale Commission and John Ahmann of the Decatur School Board.

Voters in Decatur and Avondale Estates will find out this week who will be on the ballot for the Nov. 8 municipal elections.

Two incumbents are definitely off the ballot. Avondale commission member Michael D. Payne and Decatur School Board member John Ahmann told Patch they won’t run. 

Two contested races look likely. Avondale Commission member David Milliron says he’ll challenge incumbent Mayor Ed Rieker. Garrett Goebel and Peg Bumgardner say they’ll both run for Ahmann’s post.

Otherwise, all the other incumbents say they’ll give it another shot and will qualify for election this week. By the end of the week they may have competition. Here’s how it breaks down so far.

Decatur City Commission

Bill Floyd will run again for the District 1 seat, which he’s held since 1991. The city has a weak mayor system and the commission elects the mayor. Floyd has been mayor since 1998.

That longevity as mayor has allowed the Decatur High grad to exert regional influence. He’s now a member of the executive committee of the Regional Transportation Roundtable, which pared down a 10-county list of transportation projects for a 2012 referendum.

Jim Baskett will run again for the at-large seat, which he’s held since 1995. He’s also mayor pro tem at this time. Baskett said he recently retired and thought about stepping down for the commission, but changed his mind. “We have a chance to take it to the next level,” he said of the way city government works. He wants to concentrate on the task force on zoning ordinances.

Kecia Cunningham will seek the District 2 post again. She was first elected in 1999.  She said in an email:

“We are a unique and wonderful community that serves as a model for an active, attractive and vibrant small city with effective and efficient government guided by citizen engagement. I am energized by the prospects for our future and would like the opportunity to continue to be part of the team that leads this City.”

Decatur School Board

 John Ahmann sent out an email Thursday confirming he won’t run again for the District 1 seat, which he’s held since 2004. Before he announced he was not running, Goebel and Bumgardner said they were in the race. Goebel currently serves on the Fifth Avenue School Leadership Team and ran unsuccessfully for the board previously. Bumgardner has served on the Leadership team.

Julie Rhame said she’ll qualify for the District 2 seat, which she’s held since 2004. She and her family live in Oakhurst.

Avondale Estates City Commission

 The most interesting race so far is for the Avondale Estates mayorship.

Incumbent Ed Rieker, first elected four years ago, sent out a letter a few weeks ago announcing his plans to run again.

“After reviewing the progress and seeing the positive momentum we have built over the last several years, I have made the decision to seek a second term as Mayor,” he said.

On Saturday, David Milliron officially announced he’s challenge Rieker. Milliron was elected to a commission seat four years ago and serves as mayor pro tem. He said his main issues are annexation, taxation and communication.

Both men are taking credit for making recent changes to the city, including the hiring the City Manager Clai Brown and supporting the founding of the Museum School.

That leaves two commission seats open: Milliron’s and Michael Payne’s. When asked why he wasn’t running again, Payne replied in an email: “No particular reason other than it was my intention from the start to only serve 1 term.”

Qualifying for the municipal races will be held at the Avondale and Decatur city halls Monday through Friday. The election will be held Nov. 8. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11.

Garrett Goebel's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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