June 6, 2019 Atlanta - Dekalb County CEO Michael Thurmond speaks during the DNC's IWillVote Gala at Flourish Atlanta on Thursday, June 6, 2019. White House hopefuls court Georgia: Presidential candidates swarmed Atlanta on Thursday for a convention geared at African-American strategists and a joint fundraiser featuring four of the best known Democratic contenders on the same stage. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia 2020: Thurmond endorses Bloomberg’s bid for president

DeKalb County chief executive Michael Thurmond will endorse Mike Bloomberg at a rally on Friday, giving the former New York mayor’s presidential bid a boost from one of the state’s most prominent African-American officials. 

Thurmond is set to announce his support at a noon “Mike for Black America” rally at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, where he will be joined by former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. 

Bloomberg’s Georgia operation has aggressively courted Thurmond, a political pragmatist who is one of the more influential Georgia Democrats. 

The 67-year-old was the first African-American in modern Georgia history to win a statewide election without first being appointed to an office – as state labor commissioner in 1998.

He announced earlier Thursday he would seek another term as the top elected official in DeKalb, which has more Democratic voters than any county in the state.

Though former Vice President Joe Biden has nabbed more endorsements from Georgia officials than any other presidential contender, Thurmond joins a core of well-known state politicians who have recently sided with Bloomberg’s campaign. 

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath of Marietta endorsed the billionaire media executive earlier this month. So did state Sen. Jen Jordan of Atlanta, a likely candidate for statewide office later this decade. 

Thurmond’s endorsement allows Bloomberg’s campaign another surrogate to help win over black voters who dominate Georgia’s March 24 primary and contests in other Southern states. 

As U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders rises in the polls and Biden stakes his bid on South Carolina’s Saturday primary, Bloomberg is racing to steady his campaign after facing a barrage of attacks at his debut debates about his support for stop-and-frisk policies and the treatment of women employees at his businesses. 

Thurmond said last week on GPB’s “Political Rewind” he was drawn to Bloomberg because he saw a “tremendous upside” in his economic policies. 

“How can one not be intrigued by his candidacy, non-traditional in so many aspects?” Thurmond said. “But looking at the Democratic field, as it now stands, it’s clear that Michael Bloomberg will be a player throughout the primary season.”

>>More: Thurmond will seek re-election as DeKalb CEO, forgoing U.S. Senate bid

>>More: Bloomberg woos DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond

>>More: Georgia 2020: McBath backs Bloomberg's White House bid

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.