COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — For the second time in one week, an organization that represents Columbus public safety employees has weighed in on the Columbus mayor’s race.

Last week the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) endorsed incumbent Mayor Skip Henderson. More on this endorsement can be found here.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in a news conference Wednesday afternoon endorsed businessman John Anker. This comes one week after FOP President Ralph Dowe said the organization would not endorse in the mayor’s race.

After this announcement, members of the FOP requested to poll the members and offer an endorsement.

The PBA represents about 400 Columbus public safety employees, and it endorsed Henderson after a board vote.

The FOP has about 550 local members, and endorsed Anker after polling the entire membership. Out of the 557 total members, 23 said they would vote for Mayor Henderson, 55 respondents were undecided, and 281 said they would vote for Anker.

FOP Vice President Christy Edenfield spoke at the event, offering the public endorsement in front of the City Services Center.

“When we contacted the members, I spoke with several myself, and the members basically stated that they simply cannot endorse a failing administration anymore. They want a change, and that change they’re hoping is John Anker,” Edenfield shares. “Overwhelmingly the poll revealed that our members wanted to represent and endorse John Anker for this mayor race,” she says.

Anker welcomes the vote of confidence.

“The endorsement that matters is the endorsement today of the officers that chose, the endorsement that matters tomorrow is your endorsement at that poll,” Anker says. “I’m especially honored that this award, this recognition, this endorsement it’s special… but it’s even more special that it’s from the officers, it’s from the men and women on the street.”

The FOP was critical of Mayor Henderson and Columbus Police Chief, Freddie Blackmon, back in February during a city council meeting. The President Ralph Dowe told council Columbus police officers had no confidence in Blackmon’s leadership.

Henderson tells News 3 the endorsement of his opponent does not surprise him.

”We’re not really surprised at the fact that the FOP endorsed my opponent, the president of the organization has a lawsuit filed against me, against the chief, and against the city so we didn’t really expect to get their endorsement,” Mayor Henderson shares. “I’m committed to our law enforcement officers, period. It doesn’t matter what they think of me its not going to impact how I feel about the jobs that they have to do. We’re going to continue, and I plan to continue for the next four years, continuing to do everything we can to make a safe environment in order to keep our citizens safe.”

However, Edenfield says Dowe’s lawsuit has nothing to do with the FOP’s endorsement of John Anker.

“I think that’s irrelevant, what Dowe has with the city, the chief, the current mayor, that’s their business. This has nothing to do with Mr. Anker, this has nothing to do with our members who asked us to do this,” she says.

The FOP’s endorsement comes just two days before early voting ends, and less than a week away from election day.

Early voting is underway and ends on Friday, May 20th. Advance voting polls at the City Service Center, Columbus Technical College’s Patrick Hall, and Shirley Winston Park Rec Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.