The 2015 City of Fayetteville elections story took another unexpected twist Thursday afternoon as Nohemi “Mimi” Oddo, wife of City Councilman Paul Oddo, qualified at City Hall to become a write-in candidate for city council Post 1.
If Mimi Oddo wins on Nov. 3 against Harlan Shirley, she would likely be seated next to her husband during council meetings. It also means the couple would not legally be allowed to host another city council member at their home without notifying the press and making it a public event, based on Georgia’s “Sunshine Laws” to do with the gathering of quorums.
While Thursday, Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m. was the qualifying cutoff for city council and mayoral candidates to have their names placed on the Nov. 3 ballot, Thursday, Sept. 10 at 4:30 was the deadline for write-in candidates to legally qualify. In the case of the Post 1 race, the ballot will only show Harlan Shirley’s name, but now voters will also have the option to write in “Mimi Oddo” for that ballot question.
Last week, City Councilman Ed Johnson, who is also the city’s mayor pro-tem, unexpectedly qualified to run for mayor when weeks before he was saying he would seek reelection to his Post 1 city council seat. Mayor Greg Clifton, who is seeking reelection, said he was “shocked” to learn by voicemail that Johnson was running against him. Already, Kathaleen Brewer, who is the daughter of former City Councilman Glenn Brewer, had signed up to oppose Clifton for mayor.
Johnson said God told him the city needs new leadership, which is why he says he switched to the mayoral contest. He also said he didn’t want Brewer to win, which he said would have disrupted the “harmony” enjoyed by the sitting city council. He implied that Brewer’s backers are former city councilmen who are not fond of the sitting council.
Johnson’s switch to the mayor’s race opened up Post 1, and newcomer Harlan Shirley qualified on the final day to get his name on the ballot in that race.
Post 2 City Councilman Mickey Edwards, who four years ago won the open seat vacated by former City Councilman Brewer, looked to be running unopposed until the last day of qualifying last week when Kathaleen Brewer dropped out of the mayor’s race and chose to oppose Edwards, even though at the time she qualified Post 1 was still an open seat. (Shirley had not yet qualified to run.)
Edwards says he was surprised but not worried to learn Brewer was opposing him.