We speculators are quickly running out of spare GOP candidates for governor.
Sam Olens bowed out on Tuesday, Mark Burkhalter on Thursday, now Lynn Westmoreland, who issued his stay-put memo about an hour ago.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and state Sen. Eric Johnson, both of Savannah, remain quiet.
Here’s what the congressman from Coweta County had to say:
“The last week has given me a chance to think seriously about how I can best serve the people of our state. That process has involved in-depth talks with my wife and children, my longtime supporters and my most trusted friends.
“I have decided that it is best for me to remain in Congress, where I think I can make a difference as a legislative fighter.
“I work with a great group of Georgians in Congress, and I believe it’s critical that we rebuild our state’s seniority in the delegation. I’m also excited about leadership roles I’ve taken to help Republicans work toward reclaiming our majority in Congress and returning our federal policy to conservative principles that will best serve America’s economy and its families.
“While my decision will be good news for some and disappointing to others, I believe it’s best for me and my family. Rest assured that I will do everything in my power to support our party’s nominee for governor.
“We’ve fought too hard and come too far to lose ground. We must keep the governor’s office in Republican hands, and I’m going to be a large part of that effort as a member of Georgia’s congressional delegation.”
One completely crass and unscientific measurement of the impact of Westmoreland’s decision is by press release. On Thursday, when Burkhalter — a resident of north Fulton County — threw up his hands, Roswell resident Karen Handel was the first to issue a press release praising the decision.
Today, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is first out of the gate:
“Congressman Lynn Westmoreland is a true leader of the Georgia conservative movement. I am proud to call him a friend and look forward to working with him as we advance the conservative movement in Georgia.
“I respect the process Lynn and his family went through in making this decision. This is a win for Georgia conservatives as Georgia will continue to have his conservative leadership in the US Congress.”
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