For months, it looked like Augustans were stuck with no choice but another term of Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. leading the Garden City.
It was a bleak thought for many local residents.
But in just the past few days, the clouds have parted, and there are two possible candidates considering running for mayor who could appear on the May 22 ballot.
Voters couldn’t be more excited about the news.
Political newcomer Gould Hagler II and former Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson both have expressed interest in running for mayor against Davis.
Johnson, who was first elected in 2007 and served two terms in office as an Augusta commissioner, was always generally referred to as the “friendly guy” down at the Marble Palace.
Johnson was the one commissioner who was always willing to work with anyone.
Whether the commission was battling it out over the budget or arguing over the development of the Augusta Convention Center, Johnson rarely lost his temper or lashed out at his colleagues.
Back in 2015, many Augustans thought his cool composure and experience on the commission would naturally equate with a run for mayor.
But at the time, Johnson decided he wanted to run for state senator of District 22, instead.
“Of course, a lot of people wanted me to run for mayor,” Johnson said back in 2015. “It was clear that I was going to be the guy for mayor. It was a disappointment for some people because they really wanted me to run for mayor, but they said, ‘You will do good at the senate level. We like you. You are savvy. You understand the political process, and you get along with pretty much everybody.’”
However, Johnson didn’t make it to the Georgia Senate. Instead, he was defeated by state Sen. Harold Jones II.
It now looks like he’s ready to reconsider running for mayor. We’ll see.
Another fresh, new face on the ballot could be Augusta native Gould Hagler II.
Hagler, who began his insurance career at Sanford, Bruker & Banks in 2009, is a graduate of Aquinas High School and Mercer University.
He also is very active in the community, including serving as the past vice president of the Imperial Theatre and on the boards of Sacred Heart Cultural Center and Historic Augusta.
And many Augustans know Hagler as an avid outdoorsman and a triathlete, having completed the Augusta Ironman 70.3 numerous times.
But readers of the Metro Spirit might remember Hagler back when he caught our eye and was added to our “Augusta’s Batch of Bachelors” issue in 2010.
Hagler, who is now happily married to his beautiful wife and has a new baby boy, was selected by the newspaper’s staff as one of the city’s top bachelors in town.
For laughs, let’s look back at how he answered his bachelor questions from the Metro Spirit in 2010:
Metro Spirit: What do you think are your best qualities?
Hagler: “I’m very easy going. I am normally up for anything as long as I’m with my good friends. I can’t say no to a good time. Conversation is rarely a problem; I could talk to a brick wall.”
Metro Spirit: What are your worst?
Hagler: “I’m a triathlete, so my best qualities have an adverse effect on my training. Also, someone recently complained that I left the toilet seat up. So… yeah.”
Metro Spirit: How would you describe your ideal mate?
Hagler: “She has to be fun. She needs to have goals and ambitions. I learned a long time ago that you could be with the most beautiful person in the world and if you don’t get along, those good looks will not matter. My ideal mate is the girl I want to spend all my time with.”
Metro Spirit: What are your deal breakers?
Hagler: “I don’t find smoking attractive. And my mom was right; you can tell a lot about a person just from their table manners.”
Metro Spirit: What is the one thing that you can’t live without?
Hagler: “Cheeseburgers from the Sports Center.”
Metro Spirit: What is your best date?
Hagler: “Good food and drinks. More than likely we’d be downtown or at Sheehan’s. And I tend to be spontaneous, so she has to be willing to keep up.”
Metro Spirit: Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Hagler: “I hope to be able to continue to make an impact on the community and those around me. Let’s keep the destination a surprise. For now, I’m enjoying the journey.”
Very nice answers from a possible future mayor of Augusta. Only time will tell, but Hagler might be preparing for a journey of a lifetime.