September 14, 2017 6:11 PM
The AJC is reporting that businessman and former Navy SEAL Clay Tippins has filed papers to run for governor and will be competing in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. As of now, he will face Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and state Sens. Michael Williams and Hunter Hill.
Tippins is virtually unknown. His only obvious political connection is his uncle state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, who has been a Cagle ally on education policy. It looks like he will compete for some of the same voters as Hunter Hill, another metro Atlanta Republican with a military background.
It would have been surprising if an outsider businessman had not jumped into the 2018 race after Donald Trump won the presidency using that model. It would have been especially strange in Georgia, where businessman David Perdue already rode the outsider label to the U.S. Senate in 2014. However, the big differences between Perdue/Trump and Tippins are name recognition and cash. It’s not entirely clear how much Tippins could spend on his bid, but it would have to be a lot to compete with four candidates who have all raised (or loaned in Williams’ case) $1 million. Moreover, two of his opponents have already served in statewide elected positions, helping boost their recognition for voters who are less in tune with the day-to-day of Georgia politics.
Still, people obviously convinced Tippins to run, meaning he has some strategy to go from a no-name to Nathan Deal’s heir in less than a year. Stay tuned to see what it may be.