September 28, 2017 10:00 AM
Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle came to the University of Georgia last night to speak at a College Republicans event about his 2018 gubernatorial campaign. He gave a slightly-modified version of his campaign stump speech ($100 million in tax cuts, 500,000 jobs…you know). He focused more on workforce development given that he was speaking to soon-to-be college graduates. He also tried to test the waters on some of the hot-button social issues of the moment by asking the audience what they thought about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Perhaps not surprisingly for a group of young and more socially liberal Republicans, the room split about 50-50 on the issue.
During the Q&A session, he went a little further into the headlines. When asked about his support for religious liberty proposals in the face of enticing economic deals like Amazon’s HQ 2, Cagle said that he firmly opposes discrimination of any kind (which may be at odds with his recent signing of a pledge to sign such legislation if elected). He also said he backs congressional efforts to pass a law cementing legal status for DACA recipients and that he would oppose the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia. When asked by this writer about his take on arch-conservative Roy Moore’s victory in Tuesday night’s Alabama Senate Republican Primary, Cagle attributed Moore’s appeal to President Trump shaking up the political landscape with direct and candid voter communication. When another audience member asked if Brian Kemp would be the Roy Moore of the Georgia Republican Primary, Cagle quickly reminded the room that he is the front-runner and is not yet concerned with the competition.
Although we have not seen any polls to prove it, the conventional wisdom is that Cagle is leading the field at the moment due to his support from deep-pocketed donors, his long list of political allies, and the name recognition he has garnered from nearly eleven years in a statewide office. Until someone threatens his standing, expect Cagle to remain in his current coasting form and to avoid attacks on the other candidates in the race.