UPDATED: Olens to run for AG; Westmoreland for governor?

Updated throughout:

Cobb County Commission chairman Sam Olens will seek the Republican nomination for attorney general in 2010, surprising many Tuesday who expected him to run for governor. 

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is “very seriously” looking at a bid for the GOP nomination for governor, the Coweta County congressman’s press secretary told the AJC’s Bob Keefe today. 

In a trip to the state last week, Westmoreland got “a lot of encouragement” from Republicans, his spokesman Brian Robinson said. 

In a news conference at the commission office in Marietta, Olens said he made his decision through discussions with his family and in realizing the current candidates for governor are basically running “24/7 now and not doing the jobs they were elected to do.”

Those candidates, on the Republican side, are Secretary of State Karen Handel, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton). States rights activist Ray McBerry is also running. House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) is considering a bid. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) this week shouted down rumors he would run for governor instead of seeking-relection to the Senate. Isakson’s staff says their man is dead set on returning to Washington. 

At least three Democrats and one Libertarian are also running for governor. 

Olens said he wants to continue serving the people of Cobb County but could not if he ran for governor. He plans to resign from the county commission next year and will not seek re-election as chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission when that race comes up this fall. 

“I have the ability to continue serving our great county, spending maybe a day a week running for attorney general now, spend much time on weekend campaigning,” Olens said. 

“You have to be able to do the job you have now,” he said.

Olens said his work on transportation and water issues would continue as attorney general. The state is now in the midst of litigation with neighboring states over water and that will likely continue into the 2011 and beyond.

“I will be intimately involved in that litigation which is so crucial to our state’s future,” he said.

Transportation, too, would have likely have a need for an activist attorney general, he said. 

Olens said he expects to need to raise “seven figures” for the race, but isn’t sure if that’s $1 million or $8 million. He is the first Republican to officially announce for the job, although state Rep. Ed Linsey (R-Atlanta) and Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) are said to be considering a bid. 

Incumbent Democrat Thurbert Baker is running for governor. State Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna) has announced a bid for the Democratic nomination.

Teilhet on Tuesday welcomed Olens to the race, saying he looked “forward to discussing how we can best protect Georgians from crime, consumer rip-offs, and crooked politicians.” 

Other candidates will get in the race for governor, Olens said, and until the field is set he said he will not endorse one.

11 comments Add your comment

Sonny

April 21st, 2009
3:08 pm

As a Native Cobb Countian I Hate To See You Go Sam, We Will Miss Your Leadership, Your Shoes Will He Hard To Fill.Good Luck With Your Bid To Become AG.You Have My Support

Sandy

April 21st, 2009
3:16 pm

Great he is worthless ,what has he done for transportation,nothing.All he does is what Chick at ARC says which is nothing that makes sense just more studies. He will be a nothing AG just another hack.

dkubvg

April 21st, 2009
3:27 pm

i read the pulse of the community and if cobb is any indication, sam will just be retired after the next election cycle

kindergarden math

April 21st, 2009
3:29 pm

Ten million dollars would be 8 figures; not 7 figures.

Bdawg

April 21st, 2009
3:34 pm

As a Ga Dem, I realize there is little chance a Dem will win the Governorship. So the best I can hope for is certain GOPers to NOT win. Westmoreland would be a disaster, he would be an embarrasment for our state. He has said some really dumb things, including calling our president “uppity”. We don’t need that at the statehouse. I also fear Karen Handel, she was also an embarassment to our state during the election last year. I guess of the GOPers Oxendine would be the least damaging.

Stan

April 21st, 2009
4:17 pm

It’s funny, I can’t vote for Ox at all. I’m not likely to vote for Handel (depending on how the race shackes out), but I can, at this point, see myself voting for Westmoreland. He seems to be a fiscal conservative which I can deal with, enough of these social conserves that spend like dems…

gttim

April 21st, 2009
4:32 pm

Olens is bought and paid for by developers. I have watched him county commission meetings and was thought very little of him He has accomplished nothing other than to give more to developers. He stepped into the water wars, only to open the county to scrutiny when we were keeping too much water out of Allatoona. The guy is a disgrace to the county.

That’s a shame « Walk In Brain

April 21st, 2009
4:59 pm

[...] That’s a shame By Wes F. in Hapeville The Only Republican I Can Actually Stand In Georgia Politics is not going to run for Governor. [...]

Joe

April 21st, 2009
5:00 pm

Westmoreland running for gov is DOA! At least developers would be happy. What a retard!

Aaron Gould Sheinin

April 21st, 2009
5:59 pm

kindergarten math (3:29 p.m.): Good grief, you are absolutely correct. I fixed it. That was my mistake, not his. I appreciate your calling it to my attention!

Daedalus

April 22nd, 2009
9:46 am

Well at least Olens was smart enough to realize that no metro-Atlantan will ever be elected Governor.

Westmoreland will surely be a disaster — but I’m not sure he will be any worse than the current disaster.

Enjoy your car — because none of the GOP governor-hopefuls will do a thing to fix the transportation mess in this state.