If anyone had any doubts about Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s influence among Georgia Democrats, he put them to rest this week.
He urged fellow Democrats to focus on next year’s Senate race rather than a challenge against Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, a friend and sometime political partner who Reed said was likely to be re-elected.
Minutes later, he became the most prominent figure to call for the resignation of embattled party Chairman Mike Berlon, who soon cited Reed in the announcement that he was stepping down.
Now Reed and his allies will play a prominent role in tapping a new leader for Georgia Democrats at a defining moment for the party’s future. Republicans sense that Georgia’s growing minority population could threaten their dominance of state politics, and Democrats see a chance to capitalize.
“He is going to be involved in the direction of the party because he wants to make sure Democrats are in a good position to run a good campaign, whether it’s for Senate or other seats, to move this state forward and get a Democrat elected,” said Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist with McKenna Long & Aldridge and Reed protege.