The Georgia Republican Party has denied Ray Boyd’s attempt to run for governor after the political newcomer refused Monday to sign their loyalty oath.
In a polite but tense showdown at the state Capitol, party attorney Anne Lewis told Boyd that since he refused to sign the oath, “we’re unable to qualify you.”
Boyd said he will immediately begin preparations to run as an independent.
Boyd, a commercial real estate broker from Morgan County, burst onto the state’s political scene in March when he created a campaign committee funded entirely by $2 million of his own money. He said he intended to run for governor as a Republican and said the other seven candidates already running were too ethically challenged to serve.
Last week he participated in a Republican candidates’ debate, but meanwhile had already began a dispute with state party leaders over their requirement that he pledge allegiance to the party.
Boyd said he objected to the loyalty oath, which says the signer pledges allegiance to the GOP, because the party is far from perfect and he wouldn’t swear to always support the party’s actions. He tried for a compromise by producing three variations of the oath, all of which elaborated on the original by declaring his independence from party dogma when appropriate.
As Boyd laid out his documents on a conference room table at the Capitol, party chairwoman Sue Everhart was standing over him. “No,” was all Everhart said.
Afterward, Everhart said she believes Boyd is “grandstanding” by refusing to sign an oath that more than 150 candidates signed on Monday, the first day of qualifying for candidates. Qualifying ends at noon Friday.
“Our party has rules,” Everhart said. “I can’t break the rules. I don’t want to change the rules.”
State law allows, but does not require, parties to require the oath and the GOP does. The Democratic Party does not have an oath.
Boyd, meanwhile, blamed the dust up on Gov. Sonny Perdue, whom he claims has “anointed Karen Handel to be governor. He must think this is the best way to get her there.”
Handel, the former secretary of state, is one of seven other Republican candidates for governor.
Should Boyd decide to make a bid for governor as an independent, he will have his work cut out for him. State law requires that he collect signatures from registered voters calling on his name to be included on the ballot in November. The law says he must get signatures from 1 percent of the number of registered voters eligible to vote for governor the last time the office was up for election. There were more than 5.1 million registered voters in 2006, meaning he would need 51,000 signatures.
Boyd has until noon on July 13 to file the petition with the secretary of state’s office.