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Marietta voters return Tumlin to 4th term as Mayor


When Marietta voters went to the polls on Election Day, they gave Mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin the nod and returned him to a fourth term in office. Tumlin, who has served as Marietta Mayor for 12 years, beat out fellow Marietta lawmaker Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly. Among the 39,349 registered voters for Marietta, only 8,714 cast votes in the low turnout race. According to unofficial results reported by Cobb County Elections, Tumlin received 4,981 votes, about 57%, to Kelly’s 3,733, about 43%. 

Tumlin, 74, ran on a platform of stability, saying the city was in a good position — rising property values, low crime, low taxes, and continued investment — under his leadership. He vowed to “Keep Marietta Marietta.” 

Said Tumlin of his win, “We mutually both ran a good race, we got our issues out there. I was fortunate enough to get more who supported my issues out … She’s (Kelly) quality, she’s a quality person.”

Kelly ran on a platform of Moving Marietta Forward and focused her efforts on attracting young professionals and increasing affordable housing options. 

She did not provide immediate comments on her loss Tuesday evening but thanked her supporters on social media Wednesday morning saying, “My sincere thanks to all who supported me throughout this campaign,” Kelly wrote on Facebook and Twitter. “Though we didn’t win, I am not discouraged. Instead, I am humbled and inspired by your love, dedication, and kindness.”

Kelly, 50, is an engineer and Anheuser-Busch executive who served two terms on the Council, representing Ward 6. She will be replaced in Ward 6 by André Sims, a realtor who ran for the seat unopposed.

The Marietta Mayor’s race was a nonpartisan race, but Republican Tumlin and Democrat Kelly received much of their support from their respective parties. Marietta Ward 3 Councilman Johnny Walker officially supported Tumlin while Ward 1 Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson came out for Kelly. 

Richardson was credited with saying, “The outcome, obviously, was not what I had hoped for,But my job is the same. As a member of council, I will continue to do what I believe is best for the city. And I’ll do that through my vote, for making motions that I think are appropriate. So, nothing really changes for me.”

Walker thinks Tumlin has been a successful mayor saying, “He’s done great things for Marietta. And I think the people spoke up. They want to let him continue and let him finish on his own terms.”

Many in Marietta say Tumlin won because most voters agreed with the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meanwhile Cobb political watchers wish Kelly had stepped up last year to run for County Commission Chair against Lisa Cupid, saying Kelly would have been a viable and credible opponent in a race where Cupid ran unopposed. They say if Kelly still desires to be in politics, we could see her name on the ballot in three years for Cobb Commission Chair, along with current Commissioner Jerica Richardson.

As Tumlin looks to his next term in office, he is contemplating how Marietta will utilize funds it will receive from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill under negotiation in Congress that can be reinvested into Marietta.


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