Copenhaver kicks off mayoral campaign with barbecue

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August 28, 2006

Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver made it official today, announcing he'll run in November to keep his job for the next four years.

The mayor held a barbecue this evening to kick off his campaign at Julian Smith Casino. We spoke with him there about his campaign plans.

Mayor Copenhaver knew he couldn't get too comfortable in office. Not even one year ago he was on the campaign trail, and now he's going to do it all again.

But this time winner gets all: all four years in office.

"I'm not focused on running against anybody, I'm focused on running for the city of Augusta," Copenhaver said today. "So I figure I'm going to work my tail off like I did last year and let the rest take care of itself."

It's been a drama-filled year for the 38-year-old.

Copenhaver came into office in the middle of a major squabble about voting abstentions that ended with him and the commission in court.

Now there's concern about the critical crunch with the budget.

But the mayor says he hasn't let it get him down.

"Since becoming your mayor, I have consistently focused not solely on the problems facing this commission, but rather on the solution that other communities have used to overcome similar circumstances," he said.

Copenhaver knows he has competition come November, but he says he's confident voters will look at all he's been able to do in just one year. He says those things include spearheading the sale of downtown property for riverfront condos and starting the commission bus tours.

"I have also taken our commission through diversity training for the first time in history," he said.

Copenhaver ran on a campaign promising change last has he delivered enough to stay around this time?

"I couldn't say I'd do anything differently at this point," he said.

There are several forums scheduled before the election at which all the mayoral candidates will have a chance to square off.

Four men have announced they are running for mayor: former fire chief Ronnie Few, William "Gil" Gilyard and Steven Kendrick.

Qualifying to run began this morning and ends at 4:30 Friday.