About That “Draft Westmoreland” Campaign….Nevermind

Lynn Westmoreland has withdrawn his name from a list of potential candidates for the 2018 Governor’s race.  We were just forwarded this statement:

“After much prayer and consideration, Joan and I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2018. While I am humbled by the kind words and encouragement that we have received from so many over the last few months, I think the best contribution that I can make to our state is outside of elected office. I’ve always thought of public service as a noble cause and it was truly an honor of a lifetime to represent so many hard working Georgians for so many years in both in the legislature and then later in congress. I look forward to doing all I can to support the Republican nominee for Governor and the entire Republican ticket in 2018.”

Just this week House Speaker David Ralston also indicated he’ll be running for re-election, and not seeking the Governor’s mansion. That’s two high profiled candidates down, with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and State Senator Hunter Hill officially in the mix. Maybe a few others have announced (I’ve been busy). Y’all discuss who this helps, and who still may get in the mix in the comments.

Draft Westmoreland Campaign Emerges

Call it a trial balloon. It appears that former District 3 Congressman Lynn Westmoreland is seriously flirting with a run for governor (or some of his allies are trying to convince him to do so). Greg Bluestein of the AJC reported yesterday that a “plea” was sent to Georgia Republicans on Tuesday urging them to show support for a Westmoreland 2018 bid. The plea was contained a link to this website, which gave a brief outline of Westmoreland’s policy prescription for Georgia -reforming education, the tax code, and transportation.

The Westmoreland plea went out as the Republican side of the race is in a state of flux. It came just a day after House Speaker David Ralston indicated he would not join the race. Although Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and state Sen. Hunter Hill have announced their runs, the powers that be are not satisfied with the current candidates. According to Bluestein, Governor Nathan Deal is still looking for an acceptable successor and Senator David Perdue wants an alternative as well.

Besides Westmoreland, there are a few other prominent Republicans mulling a run. Former District 1 Congressman Jack Kingston indicated in an interview with ZPolitics that he is considering it. State Sen. Michael Williams held a fundraiser in Cumming last night and has launched a website indicating that he is running for higher office (his candidacy is less likely to excite Deal and other big name Republicans though).

House minority leader Stacey Abrams looks all but sure to step in on the Democratic side, having already filed papers to run and securing the support of the progressive PAC Democracy for America . She was also featured in this New York Times piece about young progressive black Democrats stepping up to run in the age of Trump.

Westmoreland was interviewed by GPB’s Bill Nigut in early April, and while he didn’t rule out a run, he did not seem very enthusiastic either. Maybe the results of this trial balloon will change that.

Columbus Mayor sets sights on Perdue Senate Seat

Just over a month ago, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported that the city’s first female mayor, Teresa Tomlinson, was weighing her options for a state-wide run. Today she announced that the race is coming, but not until 2020.

“I am looking at federal position — the Senate position in 2020,” she said.

Tomlinson and her husband, Trip, reside in the 2nd Congressional District. She said of Congressman Sanford Bishop;

“He’s my congressman and he’s of the same party. He’s my guy. And he’s been my guy for a long time. … What’s the purpose there? What’s the net value to the Democratic Party and the state of Georgia? … What’s the point of that, other than self promotion? And, that, I am not into.”

Continue reading “Columbus Mayor sets sights on Perdue Senate Seat”

State Sen. Burt Jones is Not Running for Higher Office in 2018

The AJC’s Greg Bluestein reported earlier today that state Sen. Burt Jones (R) is not running for higher office in 2018. Instead it looks like he is staying on as the senator from the 25th district. Here is the Tweet:

It is possible that his decision to stay out is related to state Sen. David Shafer (R) filing to run last week. Jones would have had plenty of money to throw into the race and that, along with his status as a former UGA football player, would have likely made him a strong contender for any office he sought. Be on the lookout for him in the future.

Kemp Praises Texas Governor for Signing Sanctuary City Ban

Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp (R) sent out this press release following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) signing of legislation that bans sanctuary cities in Texas.

Sanctuary cities are dangerous, unlawful, and defy our Georgia values. As governor, our state will respect the rule of law and put the well being of Georgians – not illegal immigrants – first. Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, I will fight radical, left-wing organizations and activists who are more concerned with advancing their agenda than keeping citizens and communities safe.

As a reminder, sanctuary cities provide protection for immigrants who are residing in the United States without legal permission. The Trump Administration is opposed to them and is currently caught up in court trying to deny them federal funds. On the other side of the debate, California is currently considering legislation that would make it a “sanctuary state” where local and state law enforcement are not permitted to communicate with federal immigration authorities in many cases.

This fits right into Kemp’s “Georgia First” campaign strategy that he outlined in this interview with the Gainesville Times. He seems to be targeting the rural Georgians and party activists that turned out for Donald Trump in 2016. He has secured the endorsement of around 50 rural county commissioners in pursuit of that goal.

Senate Pro Temp David Shafer Files Paperwork To Run For Lieutenant Governor

According to paperwork filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission yesterday, Senate Pro Temp David Shafer is in the race for Lieutenant Governor. It’s a logical step for Shafer who has been a power broker in the Capitol for years.

You can view his registration information here…if you’re that kind of person.

Interesting note: Shafer’s campaign chairperson is John Isakson.

Website and Social Media Seek to “Draft” Gubernatorial Candidate

At some point in the last 24 hours a website and Facebook page have emerged urging Lynn Westmoreland to run for Governor. The website lists all the wonderful things about our home State before talking about the former Congressman.  Continue reading “Website and Social Media Seek to “Draft” Gubernatorial Candidate”

Kemp Endorsed By Over 50 Rural County Officials

We said earlier that Secretary of State Brian Kemp would be playing to rural Georgia in the 2018 gubernatorial election, probably hoping to recreate Donald Trump’s path to victory in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. After rolling out his “Georgia First” campaign message, it looks like he is on to phase two on his plan: consolidate support from local officials. Today, he announced endorsements from over 50 county officials from mostly rural areas. The only populous metro Atlanta counties with endorsers are Gwinnett and Hall.

Kemp said the following in the announcement:

During my time as Secretary of State, I have traveled to all 159 counties to meet with local leaders and discuss ways to grow and strengthen their communities. I am absolutely honored to have many of these public servants join the campaign team and publicly endorse my candidacy.

As governor, I will work with local elected officials regardless of geography to ensure that their citizens have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive. By working together, we can ensure that Georgia’s best and most prosperous days are always ahead of us.

The full list of county officials is below the fold. Continue reading “Kemp Endorsed By Over 50 Rural County Officials”

Casey Cagle Announces 2018 Gubernatorial Bid

It’s been a long time coming. Over seven years in fact. Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle is trying to “drop the lieutenant from his title” and become the next governor of Georgia. On Sunday afternoon, Cagle made official what everyone has known for quite some time. He announced his 2018 gubernatorial bid at the Gwinnett Infinite Energy Theater in front of a crowd of passionate Cagle supporters. He is the third candidate and the third Republican to join the race (Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Senator Hunter Hill have also announced).

With his wife and three sons in tow, Cagle took the stage and articulated his vision for Georgia: more jobs, lower taxes, workforce development, and better transportation. In short, he will be taking aim at the establishment Republican lane in 2018, wooing the business connections he has been fostering since he was elected as a state senator in 1994.

Cagle’s early advantage is largely owed to his lucrative connections. The fact that he was able to hold his own event puts him above Kemp (who announced at a Cobb County GOP meeting) and Hill (who announced on the internet). A number of heavy hitters were in attendance too. There were at least 12 state senators at the event, including the president pro tempore and the majority leader.* Continue reading “Casey Cagle Announces 2018 Gubernatorial Bid”

Potential Candidates for Columbus Mayor on the Horizon

According to an article in the Ledger-Enquirer earlier today, one of Columbus’ two city-wide Council members is looking at a run for Mayor. Skip Henderson, a 20- year veteran on the Columbus City Council, won reelection last year with 59% against a local attorney.

“If we decide to do this, we have to jump in pretty quick,” Henderson said earlier this week. “We are at a point where it is a matter of weeks and not months before a decision has to be made. I am really looking hard at it.”

With the current mayor, Teresa Tomlinson, unable to run for a third term according to the city’s charter, the field is wide open. Continue reading “Potential Candidates for Columbus Mayor on the Horizon”