Athens, GA – As Mayor Denson officially qualified to be a mayoral candidate today, her campaign manager was rightthere with her. But to him, this is an experience of a lifetime…because his life isn’t that long.

Houston Gaines is only nineteen years old but is already the campaign manager for Mayor Nancy Denson. Gaines has been a family friend of Denson’s through the years. His father swore in Denson when she ran for city council and Gaines also spent a lot of time in high school volunteering at her campaigns. Denson says she noticed him doing so much and simply asked him if he wanted to be her campaign manager.

Gaines is a double major in economics and political science at UGA. Like the mayor, he calls Athens home. But with elections quickly approaching, his classes are taking the back seat, he says. “I’ve cut back on my own personal schedule and really focused on this campaign.” He says he does struggle sometimes when it comes to fundraising because of his age. “You’re trying to maybe raise money or something [as a nineteen year old] from people much older, that you’re addressing by Mr. and Mrs, you know, you lose some in the beginning and you have to make up for it,” he says.

Denson says people are surprised he is so young, but to her she “could not have made a better decision.” She sees his age as an advantage. “Somebody who is doing this for a living has a totally different emphasis on it.” Even though there is a fifty five year age difference, Denson says, it actually works for them. “He must look to me and say man this lady I’m working for is seventy four but we actually finish each other’s sentences.”

Denson and Gaines are very optimistic for the mayoral election, which will be held on May 20th.

Alexa Knowles, reporting.

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