A campaign expense that Nathan Deal should budget for

Yesterday’s release of an unfavorable congressional ethics report on Nathan Deal may have been a crippling blow for his gubernatorial campaign. The just-resigned GOP Congressman stands accused of using his office and congressional staff to protect a state program from which his business profited, among other things. Read my colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin’s news article on the investigation and report here.

Deal resigned his seat immediately after voting against the Democrats’ health-care bill earlier this month. Fairly or not, his hasty departure from Congress, after an ethics investigation was known to be under way but before the results were released publicly, gives the impression that his timing was influenced by the possibility of a congressional reprimand based on the investigation.

Deal never made much of a push in the opinion polls after his surprising decision last year to enter the race. Ethics will be a major theme in this year’s elections, and it’s getting harder and harder to imagine Deal even making a GOP primary run-off. In fact, at this point, I could just as easily envision Deal finishing fifth in the GOP primary — behind (in alphabetical order) ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel, former Senate President Eric Johnson, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and state Rep. Austin Scott.

One thing in Deal’s favor is the fact that, as of the last reporting deadline, he had nearly $1 million in cash on hand — although some $250,000 of that is a bank line of credit secured by $250,000 in campaign contributions. So, the actual total may be smaller, depending on his fund raising over the past three months.

If Deal wants to remove some of the bitterness from the end of his 17-year tenure in Washington, he could set aside some of his campaign funds to reimburse the local governments that will have to hold a special election to fill the 10 months remaining in his term.

The Gainesville Times, Deal’s hometown paper, reports that the special election will cost as much as $240,000 for the 15 north Georgia counties in the Ninth Congressional District. (H/t: Peach Pundit.) At a time when every penny counts for local government budgets, that’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s an amount which the Deal campaign could probably cover if it made the decision now to do so.

Such a choice would effectively signal the end of his gubernatorial campaign. But that end seems near anyway. Deal could spend his campaign chest trying to blame his accusers, or he could choose this more graceful way to exit Georgia’s political stage.

21 comments Add your comment


March 30th, 2010
12:13 pm

I like that idea.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

Hopefully this investigation won’t dry up just because he’s resigned. It needs to be pursued to the end. The Casey Cagle angle should be further explored, as well.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 30th, 2010
12:58 pm

I expect we’ll see the conclusion of the Nathan Deal investigation right after we finish the John Murtha investigations.


March 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

Nice idea Kyle but “slim and none” as you probably know.


March 30th, 2010
1:32 pm

Heaven help us when Politicians spew ethics. It is hard to stomach their rhetoric as it is. Having them preach to us about ethics is like asking John Dillinger to watch the bank vault a minute.

Karl Marx

March 30th, 2010
3:28 pm

He is a turn coat party switcher. I cannot vote for the man.

Michael H. Smith

March 30th, 2010
6:35 pm

Right on time Kyle!

Smiles for Miles


March 30th, 2010
8:44 pm

Graceful and Nathan Deal? Nah!

He should reimburse for his departure to the job he was elected to do. He knew back then that he was interested in the governorship. Won’t happen–it requires a sense of personal responsibility that he does not have.

Most of us are sick of “me, me, me”. We are also sick of people crying “political enemies” or “racism” for every time they get caught doing wrong. (See Oxendine for examples).

Time to get a person of real character. Right now we are not led by many of those.

96 SC

March 30th, 2010
9:10 pm

Deal’s reentry into Georgia Politics relieves Richardson of the TITLE of GEORGIA’S MOST CROOKED POLITICIAN. Deal and Associates setup an Exclusive Sweetheart Deal that should have been competitively bid Regionally for better Service and reduced Costs to Georgia Taxpayers. That Simpleton Deal used his influence to intimidate Staffers of Georgia Government to insure the $1,500,000.00 GRAVY TRAIN would continue undisturbed to Deal and Associates. Lock Deal away ASAP for 30 years after stripping him of all Government Benefits including health care and pensions. Thanks to Dishonorable Guv Elmer Fudd for another Misdirected Deal.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

March 30th, 2010
9:22 pm

I’m so grateful that scumbag defected to the Republinazi Party years ago!

Your Evening Deal — Peach Pundit

March 30th, 2010
10:03 pm

[...] be thought of as a liberal weasal by Deal’s supporters) Kyle Wingfield. I encourage you to read his entire column here, but I’ll close with his final two paragraphs as sage advice and a great recommendation: The [...]


March 30th, 2010
11:04 pm

Kyle Wingfield is a really good writer! This story aside, and partisanship also, his stuff is really interesting, and extremely well written.

Just thought I’d add that observation.


March 31st, 2010
2:36 am

Sleepin’ heel to toe at the Hotel “K” street, its a lovely place….

Churchill's MOM

March 31st, 2010
6:45 am

Good idea, he could reimburse the state for the money he stole from the taxpayers. Thank God we have a honest person in Handel.

Hoax and chains

March 31st, 2010
8:25 am

Nathan will pay for the special election: His next address will not be West Paces Ferry.


March 31st, 2010
8:27 am


Don’t know if you read my post from last week regarding politicians who quit one elected posted to run for another elected position.

I have written each candidate for governor to ask if they would support legislation adding an additional qualification fee to any politician who quits one elected position to run for another. The additional fee would be a percentage of the cost to hold the special election needed as a result of the politician abandoning his/her elected position.

I’ll keep you posted on responses.

Tyler Durden

March 31st, 2010
8:48 am

A great sentiment, but not a chance in Hades. Deal has proven to be just another GOP scaremonger and panderer, from his support of the Birthers (a group so delusional that even the Liptonites can make fun of them) to his ‘conspiracy’ theory that all of his problems are made up by Left Wing Boogeymen, there’s nothing remotely legitimate or likable about this scumbag.

Love the idea of him doing what’s right, but he’s GOP, which means he’s only interested in staying in power by any means necessary.


March 31st, 2010
9:31 am

We need Tom Graves in this seat ASAP!



March 31st, 2010
10:05 am

That’s an excellent idea! Deal is toast.

Elaine Poag

April 1st, 2010
12:32 pm

We need Deal in the Governor’s Mansion like we need a fox in the hen house. He is a turn coat and anybody’s dog that will pay him to hunt with them. He took democrat’s money to win election then switched to the republican party. He rec. thousands of dollar from his car salvage inspections shop and violated numerous ethic’s rules. Cannot imagine how many tax dollars he will line his pockets with if he is elected governor. I know this man personally and believe he would be a disgrace to Georgia. His political signs say”Deal Real”….such a true statement….he is ready to make any kiind of deal that will fill his bank account.

Van Halstrom

April 1st, 2010
1:07 pm

This reminds me of a fellow who told me about Talmadge several years ago: ” I like him and I can’t began to tell you why others don’t. I bought a cow from him after he helped me get my son out of jail. It turned out to be an awfully good cow and the best $10,000.00 I ever spent.”