Dalton Mayor David Pennington’s current term in office doesn’t expire until the end of 2015. But if he steps down to run for governor next year the city will have to have a special election to fill the remainder of that term.
“The City Council will have to call a special election,” said City Attorney Jim Bisson.
Pennington filed paperwork on Monday to raise funds for a possible gubernatorial campaign. State law does not require him to step down as mayor until he actually qualifies to run. Qualification for the Republican primary, in which Pennington plans to challenge incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, starts in April 2014. Pennington says he doesn’t plan to step down until then.
Georgia law limits special elections to certain dates in March, June, September and November.
“I would think that the council would call the election to coincide with the state general election in November,” Bisson said.
Bisson said the special election would have to be called no less than 90 days from the general election.
Holding the special election for mayor at the same time as the general election would save the city money. Whitfield County Chief Registrar Mary Hammontree says it would cost the city roughly $6,000 to add a special election to the general election compared to about $12,000 to hold a standalone special election.