Fulton chairman's race attracts ex-city councilman

The race for chairman of the Fulton County Commission may soon be kick-started by the expected entry of former Atlanta City Councilman Lee Morris.

Morris, who represented Buckhead from 1994 to 2001, is fondly remembered by many north side residents as a capable, businesslike councilman who was the most vocal critic of corruption during Bill Campbell's term as mayor, memorably dubbing the late-'90s City Hall a "kleptocracy."

While Morris recently filed a declaration of intent to accept campaign contributions with the county elections office, he says he doesn't plan to make a final decision whether to jump into the chairman's race until early next month.

"I'm organizing my team, thinking about the issues and will be making a formal announcement in the next few weeks," he says.

So far, no other candidates have stepped forward to replace outgoing Chairwoman Karen Handel, who is running for Georgia secretary of state. Rumored contenders include former Atlanta Board of Education President Mitzi Bickers and perennial candidate Keisha Waites, as well as at-large Commissioner Robb Pitts, a former ally of Morris' when Pitts served as City Council president under Campbell.

Whoever else throws his or her hat into the ring, Morris would be considered a front-runner, in no small part because of recent county history: Fulton voters have narrowly elected white Republicans from the northern end of the county since Michael Lomax left the chairman's post in 1993.

Morris, 60, is executive vice president for Stevens & Wilkinson, a Buckhead architectural and engineering firm. If he decides to run, he says he'll step down from the board of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

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