Kasim Reed: ‘I think I’ve got another campaign in me’

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has ruled out a run for governor in 2018 more times than we can count. But he made clear Monday at an address to city business honchos that he was keeping his political options open.

Our AJC colleague Scott Trubey was at a luncheon at the Buckhead Club when Reed was asked about his next step after his term ends in January 2018. The Democrat said he plans to return to the private sector after he leaves City Hall – and take 24 months to 36 months to decide what's next.

“I think I’ve got another campaign in me,” he said, dodging a follow-up on what office he was eyeing.

“I don’t know which job, but I’m blessed in the number of folks who want to have me around.”

That timeline would mean he's not interested in the wide-open 2018 race for governor. It's the most tempting prize, and one he's dismissed several times, including in this September 2015 interview and this September 2014 sit down.

Democrats cleared the field in 2014 to let then-state Sen. Jason Carter run for the job, but the 2018 race for the party's nomination isn't likely to be a cakewalk. Carter and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams are said to be considering a run, and some Democratic insiders believe Reed could still potentially join them despite his vows that he won't.

If not, next up could be the 2020 race for Republican Sen. David Perdue’s seat or the 2022 contest for Sen. Johnny Isakson’s spot and the governor’s office. Reed, who will turn 47 in June, has time on his side.

As for the already-crowded race to replace him, Reed has consistently declined to endorse any successor – at least for now. But Trubey reported that he did offer a few words of advice.

“Don’t blow the budget,” he said.

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