ATLANTA, JUNE 7 -- Mayor Andrew Young, recently called before a grand jury conducting an inquiry into obstruction of justice, says he believes he could be a serious candidate in 1990 for governor of Georgia, an office never held by a black.
In an interview published in today's combined editions of The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, Young said it would be "healthy" for Georgia if he ran.
Young is barred by law from seeking reelection when his second mayoral term ends in 1989. The next gubernatorial election in Georgia will be held in 1990, when Joe Frank Harris, the two-term incumbent, also will be ineligible for reelection.
While Young said he will consider many options for his future, he said race relations in Georgia now permit a serious black candidacy for statewide office.
Blacks make up only about 27 percent of the state's population, but Young said he could win if he could draw 20 percent of the white vote.
"I would have no reluctance to campaign in places like Forsyth County," he said, referring to the county in north Georgia that has no black residents and where civil rights marchers encountered violence this year. "Maybe I'm naive, but I think I could get a lot of votes in Forsyth County."
A majority of Atlanta's voters are black, but Young represented a white-majority district in Congress before he became ambassador to the United Nations during the Carter administration.
No state has ever elected a black governor.