Augusta, Ga (WJBF) – Since consolidation, no one spent more time in the mayor’s office than Deke Copenhaver. Now Copenhaver is coming out saying who should be the next mayor.  

Copenhaver knows the office of mayor and now he is officially telling voters who should be the next one.  

“I think it’s confusing how many candidates are in the race, but I regularly have people ask me who are you going to vote for I hope it will be helpful,” said Copenhaver.  

There are nine candidates vying for the job of mayor, and Copenhaver is officially tossing his support behind Augusta businessman Garnett Johnson. 

“It really means a lot that a former mayor would have the trust in my ability to lead this city forward. As you said he was elected three times by the voters of Richmond County, and I hope to follow in that path,” said Johnson.   

“I didn’t take this lightly, you know. I spent hours talking to Garnett and getting to know him, and I am just very confident and the voters should be as well,” said Copenhaver. 

Early voting is already underway. Copenhaver is 12 years removed from the last time his name was on the ballot.  

So could the endorsement from a former mayor still have an impact on voters? 

“I think an endorsement is important these days yes, it is,” said Dianne Thomas, who was on the way to advance vote.  

“It could change your mind?” 

“Might not change my mind,” she answered. 

Seven more days of advance voting still left before Election Day Tuesday, that’s when we know just how much weight the Copenhaver endorsement will carry in Augusta, George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.