A team of candidates in Johns Creek
By Doug Nurse | Thursday, November 2, 2006, 08:24 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
They’ve been called the Gang of Six.
They are six candidates for Johns Creek City Council, and they’re running as a bloc, one in each of the city’s six districts.
Some of the other candidates are bothered, claiming the six have an unfair advantage.
The six are bound by several cords: all served on the Committee for Johns Creek; all are supported by incoming Mayor Mike Bodker; they have attended various functions together â€“ often without other candidates being invited; and they share the same political consultant, Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications, who happens to be a University of Georgia fraternity brother of Bodker’s.
The six are: Post 1, Randall Johnson; Post 2, Dan McCabe; Post 3, Wayne Carrel; Post 4, Ivan Figueroa; Post 5, Liz Hausmann; Post 6, Bev Miller. There are 17 candidates in all, excluding the mayor. Bodker is unopposed.
Some Johns Creek residents are concerned that the Johns Creek mayor’s post, already one of the most powerful in Georgia, will be more powerful if Bodker is surrounded by supporters.
Bodker, who has voiced his support for the six at private functions, said he believes they would be an efficient team. He said they don’t all agree on everything, but are able to disagree in a civil manner. He said he wants to avoid the kind of political dysfunction that plagues Fulton County.
Bodker also said he believes he can work with anyone who is elected, even though he may have supported the opponent.
Post 1 candidate Randall Johnson said the six candidates came together because they knew each other from their time on the Committee for Johns Creek, and got along with one another. He said he approached the others about introducing him to voters in their districts and promised to do the same for them in his.
The networking has worked in sign placement as well. The Rivermont Country Club on Nesbit Ferry Road has signs for the six all in a row. Three signs for another candidate were on the ground. Chris Cupit, a member of the Governor’s Commission for Johns Creek and owner of Rivermont Country Club, said Hausmann asked for permission to erect a sign, and then Miller. Eventually all six had asked. He said their sign placements were not endorsements by him, that he would allow other candidates to put their signs up if they asked first.
Evan Vayhinger, candidate for District 4, had three signs amid the others, but they were lying on the ground. Cupit said Vayhinger had asked and been given permission to put up signs.
Johnson said he selected Rountree after asking around for a consultant to help him. The bloc of six wasn’t a defined campaign strategy, he said.
The most overt group campaigning they’ve done occurred a couple of weeks ago in a full-page advertisement in the Johns Creek Herald. The six candidates all agreed to split the $1,200 cost.