SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A former state legislator announced her bid Friday for mayor of the Hostess City.
Regina Thomas will be going up against challenger and current mayor, Eddie DeLoach.
According to documents WTOC requested from the city clerk’s office, several challengers are vying for their chance to lead Savannah from City Hall.
“I have decided, with much deliberation, to seek the position as mayor of the City of Savannah,” Thomas said.
Mayor DeLoach confirmed to WTOC he will kickstart his re-election campaign in March.
“I think that’s what we’ve done here. We’ve got the results to put in front of folks and say, ‘it’s not what I said I would do, it’s what I’ve done,' and that’s what I want to run on,” DeLoach said.
Mayor DeLoach says he’d increase the fight against blight, as well as focus on poverty reduction, job fairs, decline in crime, and other improvements throughout the city. He tells us his record will be more than enough to win. On that note, he says he’s not necessarily running against anyone. Instead, his focus is on highlighting what he and council have done the last three years.
“We’ve got a great record to run on,” Mayor DeLoach said. “We’ve had great participation and we’re excited about going forward. Anybody who runs is just like me or anybody else. They’ve got an opportunity, and if they feel like they need t do that, they need to do it.”
Five people have turned in paperwork with intentions to run for city office. The documents must be turned in before a campaign can start raising money, so it’s not uncommon for candidates to file the papers sooner rather than later, even though they are not required to publicly announce their intention to run until mid-August.
“It’s always good to come out early,” Thomas said. “Last time, I didn’t come out early. Last time, I came out towards the end."
This isn’t the former state lawmaker’s first campaign for Savannah mayor. She ran in 2011 and was defeated by Mayor Edna Jackson.
She says she’s running again with no change in focus or platform.
“Really, there isn’t much of a difference. It’s pretty much the same thing,” she said. “You work with people on the other side of the aisle. You have to be a consensus builder. You have to be able to work with all people, and because I was able to do that in my 13 years in the Georgia General Assembly, I was very effective for Savannah, and I want to continue to do that.”
Thomas is focusing her campaign around 13 years of leadership at the state level. She has four years as a Georgia House representative and nine years as a state Senator under her belt.
“I served on the Appropriation’s Committee for the state. When we had a short year of funding, we asked every department head to reduce their own budget by 15 percent,” she said.
Along with crime and fiscal responsibility, Thomas says her biggest priority in the race is transparency.
“Sure, crime will always be at the top of anybody’s list, no doubt about that, but there are so many issues it’s hard to prioritize what to do, but I think we need to have transparency first. We need to have integrity. We need to have honesty. We need to let the people know that they can trust us,” Thomas said. “Because I know city government. I know state government. I know federal government. I know the policy and the rules, and I want to let the people know so many things are being done without the public’s input until after it’s been done. I want the people to know what’s going on before it happens, and I want the input before it happens."
Her election paperwork with the city of Savannah says she is running as a non-partisan candidate.
Thomas' campaign says they are planning more outings in the next few months on the campaign trail.
“I have no criticisms of anyone. This is not personal. It’s just I know I can do a better job.”
So far, only Thomas and DeLoach are in the running for mayor.