Just a few years back, a lot of in-the-know people thought Bainbridge native Cathy Cox was destined to become Georgia’s first female governor.
The former high-profile Democratic secretary of state, Cox now presides over Young Harris College in Towns County, raising money for the United Methodist-affiliated school and overseeing its ambitious move from a two-year to a four-year institution.
“I think the good Lord had a hand in this, and I have absolutely loved it,” Cox said of her new life. “It’s nice to be out of the meanness and partisanship that permeates everything in state government today.”
Cox lost the 2006 Democratic primary to former Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. Taylor subsequently was defeated by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who leaves office next year after two terms.
With the 2010 governor’s race looming, supporters still approach Cox about getting back into the political fray. She would be a great governor, some tell her. The race is wide open this cycle, others point out. She politely tells them she has no interest.
“Is there any possibility she might return to the political stage?” Cox is asked repeatedly.
“Zero,” she tells a reporter during a recent interview.
Cox turned 50 this year. She and her lawyer husband, Mark Dehler, have sold their DeKalb County home and wake up these days in a place free of traffic and laced with mountain vistas. They are just a few miles south of the North Carolina border. The nearest grocery store is about 10 miles away. The nearest mall is more than an hour’s drive.