Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) in Athens was kind enough to send a sound clip of his interview this morning with Eric Johnson, the newest of five Republicans now in the race for governor.
Bryant asked the lawmaker from Savannah, the one-time leader of the Senate, whether jumping up the ballot from the lieutenant governor might be interpreted as a case of opportunism. Listen to the entire clip here.
“I originally had looked at running for governor, but my friend Casey and I were elected 15 years ago together, we’re colleagues, he’s the sitting lieutenant governor, and was apparently the front-runner for governor. So I said, ‘We’ve got a good man in the race, so I’m going to run for lieutenant governor….
“A cynic would say the best thing to do is stay in there and run against a guy flat on his back, but I respect Casey too much — and the surgery went well yesterday and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“But clearly a door opened. I’m tested, I’m ready to go.”
Johnson said his fellow senators “are on-board” with his campaign, and “a lot of the Cagle team has moved over.”
Specifically, Cagle fund-raiser Rebecca Grant Cummiskey has joined the Johnson campaign, to replace Leigh Ann Gillis — who was already committed to Karen Handel in the governor’s race.
Johnston strategist Derrick Dickey said Johnson campaign chairman John Watson — former chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue — will hang with the organization for the time being. But ultimately Watson will bow out. “We will have a new campaign chair for the gubernatorial effort,” Dickey said.
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.