Savannah mayor race looks wide open as Floyd Adams jumps in

Well, as suspected all week, Floyd Adams has said he will run for mayor to replace Otis Johnson.

A former two-term mayor and current school board member, Adams was beaten easily by Johnson when Adams tried to return to City Hall in 2007, but the political landscape has changed dramatically since then. A couple of years ago, Johnson’s right-hand person on council, alderwoman at large Edna Jackson, seemed like a sure bet to win the 2011 mayoral race (she has been elected and re-elected easily to her citywide post), but the city manager controversy and Jackson’s decision to stand completely by Johnson have alienated many previous supporters. I’m obviously not the only one who thinks she is vulnerable now — we wouldn’t see four other credible candidates go to this trouble if they didn’t think they could win.

In addition to Jackson and Adams, the fight has been joined by alderman at large Jeff Felser, former alderman Ellis Cook, and former state senator Regina Thomas. (Am I leaving out any declared candidates?) That’s five credible candidates — and it’s possible to come up with a scenario for any of them to win.

Assuming no one cracks 50% on the first ballot, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters. Given that the city’s voters are majority black, it’s been conventional wisdom that a black candidate would win. But in a five-way race with two white candidates and three black ones, anything could happen.