Eric Johnson, former State Senator and GOP candidate for Governor, has endorsed a Democrat over the Republican-backed candidate in the Savannah mayoral race:
Eric Johnson — perhaps Chatham County’s most prominent Republican — is supporting Democrat Edna Jackson for mayor of Savannah.
Johnson, former state Senate president pro tem, is doing so even as local GOP chairman Carl Smith and other party activists back fellow Republican Ellis Cook.
Jackson, mayor pro tem, received one of the top three annual awards bestowed by the Chatham County Democratic Committee in 2002 and 2007.
Although city elections are officially non-partisan, no Republican has been elected mayor of Savannah since 1991. Four of this year’s six candidates are avowed Democrats.
So far, Jackson leads the field in campaign contributions and widely is considered the frontrunner in the Nov. 8 election.
Johnson, who ran third last year in a seven-way race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, was effusive in his praise for her.
“I believe Edna brings a unique resume to this election,” he said. “She has critical recent experience on City Council. She has a detailed platform that will allow Savannah to create jobs and improve the economic environment.
“And Edna has the ability to blend the old with the new — to merge the existing city’s leadership structure with new ideas and a needed partnership with the business community.”
Johnson, one of the nicer and more straightforward politicians I’ve met, has not been shy to lend a hand to the occasional Democrat — particularly when it comes to those willing to break ranks with party on the issue of school choice.