It's no secret that Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts has been thinking about a run for the county's top position. In recent weeks, he's slowly geared up his campaign in an attempt to knock off current chairman John Eaves in the Democratic primary this May.
In late December, AJC political sage Jim Galloway teased that a campaign announcement was likely to happen sometime in early January. But it appears that Pitts must have hosted the quietest campaign launch in the history of Georgia elections (with virtually no one reporting on it - except for this tiny PR blast). Over the past few weeks, his staff began changing his campaign website and Facebook page to reflect that decision.
Earlier today, CL ran into Pitts at a press conference for Southerners for the Freedom to Marry. After the event ended, Pitts briefly explained why he's now deciding to mount a campaign:
I did not run [during my first two terms as commissioner] because of some personal family issues. My daughter was at an age where she needed me, my mother was sick and I was taking care of her. She's passed on and my daughter graduated from Vanderbilt in May. Those two issues kept me from being able to devote the time. This term, [there's] no problems from an internal point of view. That is coupled with the fact that the county is in need of what I consider to be strong leadership, proven leadership.
The old Fulton County as we know it is a thing of the past. We're going to have to make adjustments and I think I have the experience, not only at the city level having served as [an Atlanta City] Councilmember and Council President, and now a commissioner, to bring all those skills together to return Fulton County to its rightful place. ... Fulton is sort of like an afterthought and that's not the way it should be. I think there are very specific roles that the county should play. I have the skills to make sure we're strong, aggressive, and a partner with the city of Atlanta again.
Last month, Pitts was one of two Fulton commissioners to vote against a county budget that raised property taxes for the first time in 23 years. His desires for Fulton to be an effective partner with City Hall once again could bode well given that Eaves and Mayor Kasim Reed haven't exactly had the best relationship over the past year.
Meanwhile, he's fully equipped at least one election chariot with his ever-so-stylish campaign branding. We recently spotted his passenger van in a Downtown parking lot:
Behold, Fulton County commissioner Robb Pitts' election chariot! #gapol pic.twitter.com/Du0SDxaCl1
- Max Blau (@MaxBlau) February 24, 2014
Pitts currently holds a substantial financial advantage over his opponent. At the end of 2013, Pitts had more than $225,000 cash on hand. Eaves reported less than a tenth of that with approximately $21,300 in his war chest.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: Still not convinced that Pitts is serious about his run for chairman? Maybe these incredible campaign coasters will change your mind. Emory University Political Science Professor Michael Leo Owens has firsthand proof:
.@MaxBlau All I know is that I like Rob Pitts's coasters. pic.twitter.com/FVRQ1zYW8U
- Michael Leo Owens (@milo_phd) February 25, 2014
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