Over the weekend, a robo-call from Eric Johnson, who finished third in the July 20 Republican primary, hit the homes of GOP voters, urging unity after Tuesday’s vote in the Republican runoff for governor.
One of the recipients was Chip Lake, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a fervent supporter of Nathan Deal. Westmoreland was among those who jumped in when Deal’s campaign hit the doldrums this spring.
After receiving the robo-call from Johnson, Lake posted the following on his Facebook page:
[Lake] is disappointed in a man that I used to have [a lot] of respect for. Instead of holding up his end of a deal Eric Johnson instead decides that he needs to record a robo call calling for “unity”. I mean really, Eric?? I, and many others that received such a call could have done without the sanctimonious lecture.
So was there an agreement between Deal and Johnson, that one would support the other in a runoff? Brian Robinson, spokesman for the Deal campaign, referred that question to Johnson.
Lake confirmed the authenticity of the Facebook post. He, too, suggested that reporters ask Johnson about conversations the former state senator from Savannah had with Deal one week before the primary, and the night of the July 20 vote.
We’re trying to reach Johnson.
The weekend poll for the Georgia Newspaper Partnership gave Karen Handel a slight lead over Nathan Deal in Tuesday’s Republican runoff for governor.
But the survey also showed two fissures in the GOP electorate – one gender-oriented, the other geographic.
Handel has a distinct lead over Deal among Republican women in Georgia. But Deal has a significant lead in the part of Georgia that lies outside metro Atlanta.
Sarah Palin comes to Buckhead this afternoon to rally for Handel. Look for an audience that’s heavily female – and suburban.
Over the weekend, two GOP turnout specialists from south Georgia — Pat Tippett and Kay Godwin – announced they would be pushing Deal’s cause in their territory, which went to Eric Johnson and John Oxendine in the July 20 primary.
According to the GNP, Deal was getting 48 percent of support from voters who backed a losing candidate in the primary.
Tippett and Godwin have been credited with pushing much of south Georgia into Sonny Perdue’s column in his 2002 upset of Gov. Roy Barnes.
During last night’s Atlanta Press Club/GPB debates, Karen Handel promised to support the winner of Tuesday’s vote in the Republican runoff for governor. Nathan Deal did not:
“I don’t think I have run a campaign in which I have been divisive. I don’t think I have been the one who has caused his party to have the divisions. I don’t think I am the candidate who has attacked our fellow candidates in this primary election process. It is going to take some time for us to heal the wounds that have been inflicted here.”
You might wonder why Deal won’t up and commit.
But it may suit his purpose – as the fellow trying to make up ground in the final 36 hours – to keep the prospect of a split Republican party in front of GOP voters who have yet to make up their minds.
It’s a tightrope tactic. Deal could benefit — as long as he’s not perceived as the author of the split.
On the same topic, the Fulton County Republican Party, has scheduled a “unity” breakfast for 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Over the weekend, the Insider noted that longtime conservative Christian activist Sadie Fields was siding with state Sen. John Douglas of Social Circle – rather than fellow Christian activist Tim Echols — in the Republican runoff for state Public Service Commission.
Echols, who last year was campaign manager for John Oxendine’s gubernatorial campaign, has been conducting a consumer-oriented campaign for the statewide seat.
Echols sent a note reminding the Insider that he has received endorsements from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Dan Becker of Georgia Right to Life, and Randy Hicks, president of the Georgia Family Council — among others.