Word’s out that Sam Olens, chairman of the Cobb County commission, will announce Friday whether he’ll run for governor — or some other state office.
Current bets are that it will be lieutenant governor, which would put him against fellow Republicans David Shafer of Duluth and Eric Johnson of Savannah — both members of the state Senate.
If you’ve heard anything definite, don’t hesitate to report in.
Suspicions that Olens will run for something were heightened last week, when a committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission recommended using $25 million in federal stimulus funds to keep MARTA running at a full schedule this year.
The act could be viewed as implied criticism of the state Legislature, which failed to act on a measure to lift state-imposed restrictions on the use of the Fulton-DeKalb sales tax levied on behalf of the transit agency.
And Olens is the current chairman of the ARC.
Olens’ entry into the race for lieutenant governor would greatly change the dynamics of what is now a two-man race on the Republican side. (The Democratic race still lacks a candidate.)
Shafer, given his roots in vote-heavy metro Atlanta, is considered to have the edge. But Olens runs well in Cobb — he was unopposed in 2008 — and would have appeal elsewhere in the northern ‘burbs.
The early advent of the 2010 political season was underlined Monday by state Insurance Commission John Oxendine, one of five GOP contenders already in the race for governor.
Oxendine began a spring and summer “grassroots” tour — the first week of which will take him to 23 counties.
While you ponder that, consider these articles, found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
The Board of Regents to vote today on raising state college tuition. The Clayton County Board of Education gets an upbeat, on-the-ground assessment from two accreditors. Sales tax figures show that the recession is driving people to drink. Which helps explain the decision to keep Sundays recession-free.
Jim Wooten and his rules for the 2010 governor’s race: Republicans must skirt drama, and keep eyes on the prize.
And from elsewhere:
WP: Air Force officials agree on an Obama cutback that includes the F-22. WP: An essay on a sniper’s view to a kill. NYT: Two major labor federations agree to work with Obama to support an overhaul of the immigration system.
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