The 2018 race for Columbus mayor should become more clear Thursday around lunch time.
Columbus Councilor Skip Henderson, one of two elected citywide, has called a news conference for 12:30 p.m. at the community room of the Columbus City Service Building on Macon Road.
Henderson is expected to announce he will be running, but there is no confirmation of that. He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
“He’s keeping it pretty close to the vest,” said John Stacey, a political consultant who worked with Henderson in 2016 on a successful council re-election campaign.
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But Stacey, reached on Wednesday morning, said it was time for Henderson to make a decision. Qualifying for the city race will be March 5-9, 2018. The election is scheduled for May 22, 2018.
“It is at a point where he needs to let folks know if he is going to run or is not going to run,” Stacey said. “I talked to him on Monday and I don’t think he has made up his mind. He will be a strong candidate if he gets in. I think there are some people who might get in the race if Skip doesn’t. It’s time to make a decision.”
When asked in late April if he was going to run for mayor, Henderson said he was “looking hard at it,” but did not commit.
Former Muscogee County School Board member Beth Harris has announced her intention to run for mayor, as has Charles Roberts, a operations analyst lead at TSYS.
Henderson, 58, won re-election last year with 59 percent of the vote over Columbus attorney Teddy Reese. Because the mayoral election will fall in the middle of Henderson’s four-year term, he would have to resign if he officially qualified in March to run for mayor.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who was re-elected in 2014, is not eligible to serve another term. She first won election in 2010, defeating former councilor Wayne Anthony, Zeph Baker and Paul Olson.
Henderson considered a run for the mayor’s office then, but opted to remain in his council seat.
Henderson is a broker for Keller-Williams real estate in Columbus.