Eight years ago, the alliance that lined up against Gov. Roy Barnes included opponents of the Northern Arc, a proposed roadway that stretched across the top of exurban Atlanta.
People won’t vote for you because of a road. But they sure will vote against you. It was an exercise in the power of NIMBY that Barnes apparently hasn’t forgotten.
Republican governor hopeful Nathan Deal likes at least part of a proposal for an interstate linking Savannah and Knoxville via Augusta.
But Deal’s Democratic opponent, Roy Barnes, is wary about the potential thoroughfare, under study by the Federal Highway Administration.
Barnes says he’s concerned about environmental and quality of life impacts – which are among the issues the study will address.
Deal, a former north Georgia congressman, is especially upbeat about portions of the route that would tie Savannah to Augusta.
“With the deepening of the port of Savannah,” he said, “we must improve our infrastructure so we can move goods from ships fast and efficiently to other parts of the state and throughout the Southeast.
“We have the opportunity to bring in significantly more cargo, and we need to be ready so ships don’t go farther up the coast to another state.”
Campaigns are an occasion for unpleasant but necessary questions. From Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:
No federal law enforcement agency or grand jury has contacted Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle about an investigation into gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal’s business dealings, Cagle said Wednesday.
“It’s ridiculous,” Cagle said during a visit to Athens.
The Office of Congressional Ethics found evidence earlier this year that Deal and Cagle intervened with state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham to preserve a state car-salvaging program that earned a business owned by Deal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The investigation ended when Deal resigned from Congress in March.
A federal grand jury subpoenaed Graham on May 24, the same day he met with an FBI agent and an assistant U.S. attorney, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported after an open-records request.
Deal and Cagle have both denied any wrongdoing, but their Democratic opponents, former Gov. Roy Barnes and Carol Porter, have hammered them on ethics.
“… (I)t’s time to go over to the Senate and get rid of the corrupt lieutenant governor who’s there now,” Porter said Aug. 14 at the state Democratic Party convention in Athens.
In TV ads aired earlier this month, the Republican Governors Association ridiculed Roy Barnes, the Democratic nominee for governor, for apologies he’s issued for moving too fast during his first term.
But at least one employee of Gov. Sonny Perdue thinks Barnes’ strategy has merit. From stateline.org:
Tommy Hills, the state’s chief financial officer and a top Perdue aide, thinks the overtures might be a smart move on Barnes’ part. “If he’s able to portray himself as a humble person, I would think it has more benefit than detriment to him, because I don’t think most voters who have some opinion of Governor Barnes would think he’s a very reticent or shy person,” Hills says. “Contrition may play in his favor.”
Barnes’ longtime friend [Buddy] Darden puts it this way: “Some people think it’s groveling, but you know, the world loves a reformed sinner. But he’s done that now, and as we go into the general election, you’ll see a little bit of a different campaign.”