Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) tried to rally the troops this morning in a conference call with state GOP lawmakers, promising them a strong performance in the last political election of his lifetime. Deal has been troubled by ethics complaints in recent weeks and fell behind his Democratic opponent Jason Carter in recent poll.
“If you don’t think I’m willing to fight, let me remind you of my background,” said Deal according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). “I have never lost and I do not intend to lose now. This is my last race. I am looking for no higher office.”
Deal first ran for office in 1980 as a Democrat for Georgia Senate and moved on to the U.S. House of Representatives, also as a Democrat, in 1992. He switched to the Republican Party is 1995 when the GOP took over the House for the first time in 40 years, under the leadership of a fellow Georgian Newt Gingrich.
Deal said he’s kept a lower profile in terms of campaigning this season, because he didn’t want to draw attention away from the very heated GOP Senate and superintendent races. But the Governor is seeking assistance in changing this now, since the runoff elections come to a close tomorrow.
Deal painted a grim picture of things to come for Georgia Republicans if Carter, who is a state senator and grandson of the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, wins in November. Right now, Republicans have a significant majority in the state Congress, but Deal told his colleagues that will quickly change if the Democrat wins.
“[Carter] will use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to beat you into the ground and you will have no opportunity to respond,” Deal threatened. “He will pick you off, one by one if necessary, until he regains control of the Legislature.”
The governor also pointed out what everybody probably already knows, politician or not - that the young Carter is slowly moving towards Washington. “If we have a Governor Carter, do you not believe he will immediately start to follow his grandfather’s footsteps so he can be a second President Carter?” asked Deal.
The governor also urged the GOP congressmen to join him at his upcoming fundraisers, rally donors, and defend him against the ethics allegations in the media and while interacting with voters. Deal has quite a few fundraisers set up for the next few weeks, to make up for Carter out-raising him in the last quarter by over $700,000.
In the last poll by Landmark Communications, taken just days after the renewed ethics allegations against the governor and his staff were covered by the local media, Deal received only 41 percent of support to Carter’s 49 percent. However, the Real Clear Politics averages still put Deal ahead of Carter.