Kasim Reed was just 32 years old when he successfully managed Shirley Franklin’s first campaign for Atlanta mayor in 2001.
Eight years later, a candidate for mayor himself, Reed has settled on another young face to run his campaign.
Tharon Johnson, 31, district director for John Lewis, the venerable Atlanta congressman, has joined the Reed team as its campaign manager, according to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus.
Johnson’s past political experience includes management of state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond’s 2002 re-election bid. He was also field director U.S. Rep. John Barrow in his 2004 and 2006 campaigns.
Johnson has been involved in past Lewis campaigns, including an unexpectedly competitive primary last year arising from the congressman’s early support of Hillary Clinton for president. Lewis later switched to Barack Obama.
Johnson said he decided to work with Reed because of the candidate’s efforts as a state senator to help the city pay for its sewer improvements and Reed’s proposal earlier this year for a voter referendum this November to direct the proceeds of a tax increase toward pay for more police officers and firefighters.
“Kasim, for me, provided me with a vision for Atlanta that could relate to,” said Johnson, who has resigned from the congressman’s office.
The obvious question: Does this mean an endorsement from Lewis is in the works for Reed? “We are trying to get his support,” Johnson said. “We’d love to have it.”