Your morning jolt: A 50-something businessman retires, just as the governor’s race begins

For months, Republicans have buzzed about yet another contender in the race for governor, a fresh face backed by the state’s business community.

You have to wonder if they’ve been talking about Tom Bell, the 59-year-old CEO of Cousins Properties who retires at the end of the month.

The business pages contain two references this morning. This by my AJC colleagues Michelle Shaw and Gertha Coffee:

[Sam]Massell and others suggested Bell might aspire to a political office such as Atlanta mayor or governor. Bell gave no indication of plans in that direction. He also said he won’t stay at Cousins in any capacity after retiring.

“I just don’t believe in it. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve been the COO who became the CEO, while the old CEO is on the board and chairman or something, and it’s just uncomfortable,” he said.

Today’s Atlanta Business Chronicle has this about Bell:

But, he also said he has been approached by several people about pursuing the governorship.

“I have learned to never say never,” Bell [said]. “I will say it’s a good time for someone who is not intensely involved in the political process to be interested in running… I think there are many good candidates.”

The Rothenberg Political Report has returned Georgia congressmen John Barrow of Savannah and Jim Marshall of Macon to the Democratic endangered species list:

At least nine Democratic-held districts in five different states — Alabama’s 2nd (Rep. Bobby Bright) and 5th (Rep. Parker Griffith), Ohio’s 1st (Rep. Steve Driehaus) and 15th (Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy), North Carolina’s 8th (Rep. Larry Kissell), Virginia’s 2nd (Rep. Glenn Nye) and 5th (Rep. Tom Perriello), and Georgia’s 8th (Rep. Jim Marshall) and 12th (Rep. John Barrow) — could see a steep drop-off in the midterm among demographic groups that were energized by Obama’s candidacy and supported Democratic candidates across the board last cycle.

African-Americans and college-age students turned out in considerable numbers for Obama, and it is far from clear whether they will do so again in the midterms. In fact, exit polls over the past few elections have shown that turnout for both groups has dropped in nonpresidential years….

Democratic campaign strategists acknowledge that while they would be happy to have the president fully engage in the midterms, they cannot assume he will be greatly involved. So, they are planning their own efforts to mobilize Democratic voters.

Finally, you may have missed the coda to Roy Barnes’ announcement that he would attempt a comeback run for governor. Over the weekend, the Marietta Daily Journal reported that, on June 20, the former governor and his wife Marie will open their new Marietta home for public viewing.

Quoth the MDJ:

Many rooms in the home are full of items that showcase the former governor’s legal and political career. Of the many pieces of interest is a bronze inlaid replica of the Georgia state seal in the foyer and the Profile of Courage Award that Roy Barnes was awarded in 2003 by the John F. Kennedy Foundation for his reform of the Georgia flag.

Other than the $25 ticket — proceeds go to the historic Mable House in Mableton — the event kind of reminds you of the “Little People’s” days that Gov. Lester Maddox sponsored in the 1960s, inviting the public to the governor’s mansions in Ansley Park, then on West Paces Ferry Road.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • DeKalb County officials oppose major tax break for Sembler project.
  • Fulton businesses have won so many property tax appeals that the county faces a $40 million shortfall.
  • PSC broke state law, attorney general rules.
  • U.S. Supreme Court lets Georgia’s voter ID law stand.
  • Lawyer argues sex offender law off-target and unconstitutional.
  • State Supreme Court throws out Georgia’s left-turn law.
  • Mayor Shirley Franklin disputes Atlanta’s ranking as second least-safe city in U.S.
  • Atlanta TV stations stretch staffs during lean time.
  • Cobb’s Walton High is tops among schools in graduation test.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Jay Bookman wants you to quiz candidates for governor on transportation.
  • Ray Nagin says New Orleans is booming, thanks to Atlanta.
  • Harry J. Heiman thinks community care is the next step for Grady hospital.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Atlanta Unfiltered: Sembler tax break would cost DeKalb $19 million in property taxes.
  • ABH: Austin Scott says GOP needs young voters.
  • And beyond:

  • WSJ: With the count less than a year away, the GOP blocks census nominee.
  • NYT: In Lebanese vote, hopeful signs for the U.S.
  • Daily Beast: It’s been a year since Hillary Clinton ended her presidential campaign.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    4 comments Add your comment

    Road Scholar

    June 9th, 2009
    11:53 am

    If not governor, how about as Commissioner of GDOT?


    June 9th, 2009
    2:13 pm

    How about mayor of Atlanta?

    Tricky D

    June 9th, 2009
    5:27 pm

    He already is Mayor of Atlanta. Look at Shirley’s campaign contributors.


    June 9th, 2009
    6:46 pm

    How about dog-catcher? Whoops! Might not be qualified…….