Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has taken a step that indicates she’s serious about running for statewide office.
During an interview with News 3 on Wednesday, Tomlinson said she has been working with Joe Trippi, a well-known Democratic strategist.
“I am working with Joe Trippe of Trippe, Norton,” Tomlinson said. “… I can assure you that if I determine to run for statewide office, we’ll be in it to win it. And that’s not something we are going to take lightly.”
She stopped short of saying she had hired Trippi, but one look at his resume and it’s clear what he does. Most recently, he ran media on Doug Jones’ successful U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama. He ran media on Jerry Brown’s California successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Now, the question is: what office will she seek. For two years, Tomlinson has been eying a run in 2020 against incumbent Georgia Sen. David Perdue. Those plans have been complicated by Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year.
Abrams came up just short against Republican Brian Kemp. Her national star was bright enough for the Democratic party to ask her to deliver the opposition response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday night.
“She has clearly caught lightning in a bottle,” Tomlinson said of Abrams. “So she has national opportunities. She has the opportunity to make history and she has the opportunity to run for office. Only she can make the decision as to which of those courses is right at this particular time.”
Tomlinson and Abrams met last month, though Tomlinson won’t reveal the details of that conversation.
“I want everybody to know that the Democratic party is very well knitted on this when it comes to the fact that we intend to win the Senate race in 2020, take back the governor’s mansion in 2022. And we intend to take the Senate seat in 2022,” Tomlinson said. “And we understand that means working together and understanding who’s the right candidate for the time.”
Abrams is mulling her decision on the 2020 Senate race. Tomlinson is waiting and expects it to be made in the next couple of months.
Asked if she would run against Abrams, Tomlinson was careful in her words.
“If it’s the assessment that Stacey is the one at this time — I think we certainly see at the national level that assessment has been made and she’s certainly the one — she has to make that decision and things will fall into place at that time,” Tomlinson said. “We are looking at this and feel very comfortable about the possibility of my being a statewide candidate that would be very successful. Now, it’s which position would be best for me and which one can I serve the people of Georgia best.”