Five local elected officials gathered at mayoral challenger Colin Martin’s campaign headquarters Tuesday at noon to formally endorse his candidacy over Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.
Sheriff John Darr, Marshal Greg Countryman, Councilor Gary Allen, Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce and state Sen. Josh McKoon stood with Martin at a rostrum as the candidate thanked them for their support.
“I’m excited to have the endorsements of these elected officials,” Martin said. “These folks have won campaigns in this city, so they know what it’s like to win.”
Allen said he has known Martin for a long time and has been impressed with him and his management style.
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“I feel like it’s the right time for him to get involved in the community, so I want to be involved in this campaign to help him get to the next level, and help Columbus reach the next level.”
McKoon said he hears from his constituents about their concerns about public safety, which could harm the city, which he said is at “a tremendous crossroads.
“I think there are some great things happening in our community, but we’re at a turning point,” McKoon said. “Are we going to move forward to truly become Georgia’s second city or are going to have problems that cause people to say, ‘I’m not going to go to Columbus. I’m going to go somewhere else.’”
Countryman said a lack of communication between Tomlinson and the heads of the three law enforcement agencies in the city is a problem he believes Martin would solve.
“It’s about one thing to me. Public safety,” Countryman said. “Communication is essential. We need a public safety director who is going to communicate with all the people, not just one public safety official.”
Tomlinson said most of the endorsements came as no surprise because they had voiced their support for Martin earlier in the campaign.
“Those are five votes, important votes, but they’re votes that only count once,” Tomlinson said. “I think that people vote for the candidate. I don’t think they vote necessarily for what someone else thinks. I think they will vote on my record of accomplishment, my vision for the city and the enthusiasm and vibrancy they see in the city.”