Elections

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson weighs run for governor, secretary of state

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson receives the 2017 SISTERS Inc. Women of Courage Award

Teresa Tomlinson, Columbus' first female mayor, accepted the award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority with gratitude for the "mighty women" who inspire her. She recalled a childhood story when she stood up to a bully, and reminded the audience at
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Teresa Tomlinson, Columbus' first female mayor, accepted the award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority with gratitude for the "mighty women" who inspire her. She recalled a childhood story when she stood up to a bully, and reminded the audience at

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is considering a possible run for statewide office in 2018, she confirmed Wednesday morning.

Tomlinson, 52, has been approached by state officials and those affiliated with the national Democratic Party and asked to consider runs for governor, attorney general and secretary of state as a Democrat. She did not release the names of those she has spoken with about the offices.

She has taken attorney general off the table and is considering runs for governor and secretary of state. Both of those offices will likely be vacant at the end of the term. Gov. Nathan Deal is finishing his second term and is not eligible to seek re-election. Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle have both created campaign committees for a run for governor. Both men are Republicans.

Tomlinson expects to make a decision in the next week or two, she said.

“I have ruled out some things and I am considering others,” she said.

Tomlinson, an Atlanta native, said part of the consideration was “lifestyle and family choices.”

“Being in public life is all consuming,” Tomlinson said. “My dad is 81, my mom is 78. I have a husband, with whom I love spending time. All that suffers when you are in public life.”

Though the election is more than a year away, candidates who will be seeking office in 2018 are already starting to make those decisions.

Qualifying is set for March 5-9, 2018. The primary is scheduled for May 22, 2018, and the General Election is in November 2018.

Georgia’s last Democratic governor was Roy Barnes, a Cobb County trial attorney who lost his 2002 re-election bid to Republican Sonny Perdue.

Tomlinson, an attorney who became the city’s first female mayor in 2010 and was re-elected to the non-partisan post in 2014, has been rumored for higher office since her political emergence seven years ago. She is not eligible to seek a third consecutive term in 2018.

Tomlinson was a successful trial lawyer with the Columbus and Atlanta firm, Pope McGlamry, where her husband, Trip, still practices. She practiced law for 16 years before leaving in 2006 to become executive director of MidTown Inc., a nonprofit community renewal organization.

The 2018 statewide election could have several Columbus connections. Sen. Josh McKoon has said he will leave his District 29 seat at the end of 2018. Last month, he said he was considering a Republican statewide run that could include governor or attorney general.

Tomlinson said she will not consider a run for attorney general, a job held by Republican Chris Carr, who was appointed by Deal last year to fill the unexpired term vacated by Sam Olens, who is now president of Kennesaw State University.

“I have always been — and I have not gotten as much credit for it by some — someone who doesn’t always go against a candidate just because of their party,” Tomlinson said. “I look to see if they are doing a good job.”

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams

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