Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves gives the annual state of the county address at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM AJC File Photo

EXCLUSIVE: Fulton Chairman John Eaves enters race to be Atlanta mayor

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves is joining the race to lead the city of Atlanta.

Eaves, who was first elected to the board in 2006, is entering a crowded field that includes nearly a dozen contenders. He plans to file paperwork to begin fundraising on Friday.

Despite his relatively late entry into the race, Eaves said he had been thinking about running for some time, and was “enthusiastically putting my hat in the ring for consideration.”

“I felt the city needed someone of my caliber,” he said. “The city of Atlanta deserves transparency, and I want to set the tone.”

Channel 2's Craig Lucie reports.

He announced his entry as the city is reeling from a bribery investigation involving its procurement office.

Eaves cited his leadership as the chairman of the state’s largest county, and said he has proven that he is able to bring “diverse constituencies together for common goals.” He has helped shepherd a strategic plan for the county, and has worked on justice reform and other issues in Fulton.

“If there’s a time to exit from Fulton County, it’s a good time to exit,” Eaves said. “I certainly feel that we have a good, strong track record. The government is not perfect, but it’s in favorable standing.”

Eaves’ term ends in December 2018.

In addition to Eaves, the candidates vying to replace Mayor Kasim Reed include Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, council members Kwanza Hall, Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman, former Atlanta Workforce Development Agency director Michael Sterling, State Sen. Vincent Fort and Cathy Woolard, former president of the Atlanta City Council.

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