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Lunsford drops out of Forest Park general election

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

After losing the Sept. 18 special election for the right to serve out the remaining portion of the term of former Forest Park Councilman Wes Lord, Roy Lunsford said he will wait another four years before trying his hand in the political arena again.

Slated to run in the Nov. 6 general election for the Ward 5 Council position, Lunsford filed an affidavit to withdraw from the race on Oct. 19, the final date in which candidates could opt out of the race.

"I went there and got my feet wet, and my toes stepped on," said Lunsford, who said the special election was his first adventure into politics. "People don't know me, I guess, so I didn't want to waste my time or anybody else's."

While Lunsford could not grab a majority of the votes in the Sept. 18 special election, his is not an unknown face in the county. He said he has completed the Forest Park Citizen's Academy, twice, and was an active member of the city's CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Committee. CERT members volunteer their services to assist public safety officers in the case of a pandemic, setting up triage units and relieving police and fire units of some responsibilities. He also said he has consistently attended city council meetings for the last four years.

"I still love the city and I'm still going to do what I can to help it out, but I'm not going to do it from inside the city council," at this time, he said.

Avery Wilson, who lost to Linda Lord in the runoff following the Sept. 18 special election, has said he will run for the seat again on Nov. 6. Wilson said he didn't know why Lunsford chose to drop out, or how it would affect the November election.

"I can't really get into [Lunsford's] mind. I suppose he didn't see any further point in going forward," said Wilson. "I don't know who his supporters are going to support. We're trying to get all of the supporters that haven't made up their minds. We want to try to get those who may be on the fence, and try to focus on what we are doing as a campaign."

Lunsford said in the September election, he made the mistake of not capitalizing on the diversity of the city. He said the next time he runs for office, he plans on putting out more signs, arranging more meet-and-greets, and having volunteers to translate campaign materials for the Latino and Asian communities.

He said it is "very possible" that he will run for the Ward 5 seat again in four years, and he may run for mayor in a few years, after he retires from his job as a systems management technician at Graham Packaging in Atlanta.

In the meantime, he said he would put his support behind Linda Lord. "Being that [Linda Lord's] husband had been on [the council] for so long, she must know a lot of what is going on," he said. "I actually think that she would make a great council person. She's retired and has a lot more time to do this than me or Avery Wilson would."

Attempts to reach Linda Lord for this article were unsuccessful.