At a news conference in his historic Telfair Street home Thursday, Aitken described the accomplishments of his commission term – when “a unified commission” was able to complete downtown projects such as Augusta Convention Center, the new main library and new sheriff’s headquarters – but cited the state of the government now in his decision not to run.
“I’ve been struggling with running for mayor of Augusta for over a year now, but I think the nature of where everything’s at in Augusta, I don’t think it’s going to be the time for me to run for mayor,” Aitken said.
“I want to be a part of something that’s progressive. It weighs heavy, the atmosphere when you go in the chambers. We ought to have joy in when we make the decisions for what’s next for Augusta.”
Aitken earlier praised District 1 Commissioner Bill Fennoy’s support for SPLOST 7, the new sales tax going before voters May 20, for its funding for downtown projects. Fennoy lost a runoff to Aitken in 2009, but defeated Aitken four years later for the downtown commission seat.
The decision brings the number of candidates for mayor to five. On Thursday, Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, and high school teacher Lori Myles filed qualifying paperwork. They will join Commissioner Alvin Mason, retired restaurateur Charles Cummings and business owner Helen Blocker-Adams on the May 20 ballot. Qualifying ends at noon Friday.