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Cumming Mayor Gravitt holds re-election kick-off event
Mayor Gravitt

The re-election campaign for Mayor H. Ford Gravitt officially kicked off at a private event this week.

On Monday, more than 100 supporters, many wearing blue or red campaign shirts, supported the mayor at a private event at the Otwell Manor on Dahlonega Highway. Gravitt, who was first elected in 1970, recently announced he is pursuing the seat for a potential 15th term.

“You have your family, you have your friends and you have your supporters and we have them all here today,” Gravitt told attendees.

At the event, Gravitt talked about the changes he has seen in the city since being elected to the Cumming City Council in 1966 and laid out what he would like to see done in the future, which includes a closed arena at the Cumming Fairgrounds and a massive development at Mary Alice Park.

There’s some people that say term limits should be a thing and I shouldn’t be running for re-election, but my thought process is you people are the term limit.
Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt

“Mary Alice Park, that’s a diamond in the rough that can be a shining star,” he said. “We want to make a sports complex if we can get the Board of Education and the county commission to work with us. It may be a $200 million project, but we want to have a state-of-the-art complex with a five-star hotel with restaurants that will be a vacation destination on that 120-acre site.”

Gravitt said the plan will be part of upcoming SPLOST VIII discussions.

Several current and former elected officials were present at the event. 

He thanked his supporters for their backing throughout his time in office and asked for their continued vote in November.

“This may be a very important election; maybe one we don’t want to regret. I’m not taking anything for granted, even though I’ve served the government for half a century,” he said. “There’s some people that say term limits should be a thing and I shouldn’t be running for re-election, but my thought process is you people are the term limit.”

Supporter David Stripland said he has lived in the city and known the mayor his whole life and feels Gravitt would continue to build on his success. 

“He tells it like it is,” Stripland said. “I was afraid he wasn’t going to run again this year. I don’t know how many times he’s run. I can’t count them, but I’ve voted for him every time.”

For the first time since 2003, there will be an election with two candidates for mayor as city resident Troy Brumbalow announced his candidacy in January.

Registration for the mayoral seat — and Posts 1 and 2 of the Cumming City Council, held by Chuck Welch and Quincy Holton, respectively — will be Aug. 21-23. The election will be held in November.

Qualifying fees and registration dates for the race and were approved at the Cumming City Council’s January meeting. The fee for mayor is $380, and for Council Posts 1 and 2 is $180.

According to the city’s code, a candidate must be older than 21 and have lived in the city for more than a year before the election and be a qualified voter in the city.

If an office is contested, the top vote-getter will be declared winner — no runoff is held for close races, as is the case in some other municipalities.