With Eric Johnson of Savannah moving up to the Republican race for governor, that leaves his Senate colleague David Shafer of Duluth as the only announced candidate for lieutenant governor — aside from incumbent Casey Cagle, who is now recuperating from back surgery.
What is expected from Shafer, a friend and ally of Cagle? He sent this in an e-mail today:
“I made the decision to run for Lieutenant Governor because it was an open seat. Obviously, the dynamics of the race have changed. We are continuing to consider our options. I should have a decision and announcement this week,” he said.
Shafer met with Cagle face-to-face over the weekend. And, we hear from other sources, so did Johnson.
Shafer still has options. A raftful of other constitutional will be open in 2010. But his operating deadline may be a Senate Republican caucus meeting called for Wednesday to discuss the suddenly unsettled political climate. Word has been issued that no candidates for lieutenant governor need attend.
Two more items of gubernatorial note, though little surprise:
— U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah formally removed his name from the list of suspected GOP candidates for governor, declaring that he would run for another term in Congress instead.
Kingston and Johnson are excellent friends, and there was talk of a pact between the two. If one ran, the other wouldn’t. I was reminded today that Johnson served as Kingston’s first campaign chairman 18 years ago.
— With the GOP contest for governor widening rather than shrinking, it’s no surprise to see some pushback. Eric Tanenblatt, former chief of staff for Gov. Sonny Perdue, issued this note today to his contacts:
I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I have decided to actively support and campaign for Karen Handel in the upcoming Governor’s race. I made this decision with great ease. I know Karen well.
In 2003, we worked together in some of the most challenging of circumstances as we helped our newly elected Governor lead our state through the biggest transition of government in modern times.
Throughout this period and in the years to follow, I have watched Karen in action and can attest to her drive and commitment to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. She is a person of impeccable integrity who has the experience and vision to lead our state.
Handel, for those who didn’t know, served as Perdue’s deputy chief of staff before moving on to the chairmanship of the Fulton County Commission.
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