Donald Trump has entered the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. Well kind of. State Senator Michael Williams announced his run on Thursday. And it looks like he will base a large part of his run on his connection with the man on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Michael Williams is someone who supported Donald Trump before it was socially acceptable to support him. He’s a second-term senator from Forsyth County who hasn’t made too much of a name for himself at the state capitol yet, but he did have the foresight to see that Trump would do well in Georgia and beyond. He is always quick to remind us that he was the first elected official in Georgia to endorse Trump. He even ran a robocall back in February saying as much.
Williams has been publicly flirting with a run since the beginning of the year. He seemed like a good bet to run for Secretary of State for a while, but he has since turned his attention to West Paces Ferry (the SOS race looks to be more of a House affair anyway).
Williams has a high bar to climb. He’ll have to beat out establishment favorite Casey Cagle and fellow Trumpite Brian Kemp. He’s already gone at it with state Senator Hunter Hill on Twitter about who loves the Donald more. If he beats the odds and wins the primary, he’ll most likely face Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans, two Democratic women who will have strong anti-Trump messages to attack him on.
Williams has a considerable amount of money from owning a chain of Sports Clip barber shops. He used his fortune to unseat incumbent Jack Murphy when he first won his Forsyth County state Senate seat in 2014. But he’ll have to spend a lot more or draw off a pro-Trump network if he is going to defeat Cagle and company. As the GOP primary fills up, candidates will likely begin plotting strategies to end up in one of the two runoff spots in the summer of 2018. Williams has a lot of votes to earn before then.
But rest assured. At the very least, he’ll have the support of Dog the Bounty Hunter.