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Tharon Johnson rejoining McKenna Long after helping re-elect Obama

By Maria Saporta

After serving as a high-ranking member in the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama, Tharon Johnson is joining McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) as a managing director of its National Government Affairs practice working in the law firm’s Atlanta and Washington, D.C. offices.

Most recently, Johnson served as the National Southern Regional Director for the 2012 Obama for America Presidential Campaign.

But Johnson is no stranger to Atlanta and Georgia politics.

Tharon Johnson

He was campaign manager for Kasim Reed’s successful race to become mayor of Atlanta. He then joined the Reed administration as a senior advisor before joining MLA for a brief stint in August, 2011 as a senior strategic advisor reporting to Eric Tanenblatt, who heads up the firm’s Government Affairs practice.

Johnson also has run successful campaigns for U.S. Rep. John Lewis, U.S. Rep. John Barrow and former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

“Tharon will be a tremendous asset to our government affairs efforts in Georgia, Washington, DC, and across the country,” said Tanenblatt in a statement. “His knowledge and ability to navigate between the public and private sectors will be extremely valuable to our clients and the firm.”

Politics Magazine named Johnson among the “Top 10 Democrats in Georgia” and a “Campaign & Elections 2010 Rising Star.” He is the youngest and first African-American to be named “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.

Johnson serves as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta. He also serves on the board of KIPP Metro Atlanta, and he is a former board member for Red Clay Democrats.

At MLA, Johnson will join a host of political operatives from both political parties.

They include former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin; Zell Miller, former Georgia governor and U.S. senator; former Georgia House Speaker Mark Burkhalter; former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden; former Georgia State Attorney General Thurbert Baker; Keith Mason, former assistant to President Bill Clinton; Steve Labovitz , former chief of staff for the City of Atlanta in Mayor Bill Campbell’s administration; Chuck McMullen, former chief of staff to Georgia’s first Republican Senate Majority Leader; Sharon Gay, former deputy chief of staff and executive counsel to Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell; Bo Moore, former advisor to the late U.S. Sen. Paul Coverdell; Ben Vinson, former deputy counsel to Georgia House Speaker; and Rollin Downs, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue.

By the way, Tanenblatt also served as former Gov. Perdue’s chief of staff, and he headed the 2012 Georgia campaign for Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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