Former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, at a Democratic event in Atlanta last month. Bob Andres,
Photo: Bob Andres/
Photo: Bob Andres/

Georgia Senate: Several top Tomlinson deputies leave campaign

Several of Democrat Teresa Tomlinson’s top aides recently left her U.S. Senate campaign as an election year dawns and her bid to challenge Republican incumbent David Perdue enters a new, more competitive phase.

The departures from the former Columbus mayor’s team include campaign manager Kendra Cotton and field director Patricia Lassiter, deputies that helped her launch her Senate run last year.

Tomlinson spokeswoman Nicole Henderson said Lassiter left the campaign on “great terms” to work for the state party and that the two remain friends. She said Cotton will take on a consulting role and serve as a surrogate for the campaign.

Henderson said the campaign has moved into an “operational phase” and will now be led by Ohio River South, an Atlanta-based political firm led by Democratic strategist Howard Franklin, who said Louis Elrod will be the point man. 

Another Tomlinson operative, digital director Kyle Keyser, said he also departed the campaign in December after less than three months on the job. Keyser, who made a well-received video swiping at Perdue, said a clash over “digital ideology” triggered his decision.

Tomlinson, one of four top Democrats in the race, sought to rebrand her campaign this week with a video dubbed “Georgia Gumption.” In the ad, she tells supporters: “We’re coming to Washington, D.C. and we’re packing a whole lot of Georgia gumption and we’re finally going to see them sweat.” 

Their departures were much quieter than another former Tomlinson deputy who left the campaign. Edana Walker, Tomlinson’s former finance director, blasted the Democrat’s “thoughtless and cruel” behavior in November after she was let go.

As the May primary nears, Tomlinson faces increasing pressure from top rivals in the contest: Business executive Sarah Riggs Amico, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff.

Insider’s note: This item was ripped from the Daily Jolt.

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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.