The state Capitol weighs in on runoff races

The powers-that-be in and around the state Capitol are making last-minute bids to tip the scales in a number of races,

We told you this morning about this handy quote (and a photo) that Gov. Nathan Deal lent to state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown for use in his 12th District congressional GOP primary runoff against businessman Rick Allen of Augusta:

“Lee Anderson strongly supported my conservative tax reform agenda, which cut taxes on Georgia families and businesses. With Lee’s help, I was able to enact one of the most pro-jobs laws in our state’s history.”

That has since been followed by an endorsement of Anderson by Attorney General Sam Olens – which Olens confirmed by email this afternoon.

To add to Anderson’s wealth, former Republican rival Wright McLeod, edged out of the runoff by Allen, also endorsed Anderson. From a letter McLeod sent to his supporters:

”My campaign was a natural expression of my life-long dedication to Service Over Self. Lee subscribes to this same principle. He has always been a servant of his constituents. He has never run for elected office to enrich himself, and he understands that votes are won by trust, hard work and principled leadership.

No doubt the fact that Allen attacked McLeod relentlessly for campaign finance mistakes contributed to the decision.

In the District 31 race for state Senate, Republican incumbent Bill Heath of Bremen faces former Paulding County commissioner and businessman Bill Carruth.

On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle lent a photo and quotes to Carruth. As did a spokesman for Deal, a spokesman for Cagle said the transaction didn’t represent a formal endorsement.

“Bill Carruth is a close, long-time personal friend and Casey Cagle is nothing if not loyal to his friends,” said Cagle spokesman Ben Fry.

Heath was one of the senators who pushed to strip the lieutenant governor of his authority over the Senate in 2010. Joel McElhannon, a campaign strategist for Heath, sent us this response:

”Casey Cagle has once again disgraced the Republican Party. Cagle has shown he will back anyone from a tax cheat to corrupt Democrats to satisfy his desperate, pathetic lust to regain power. The biggest question now is when will Cagle endorse Democrat Doug Stoner?”

The phrase “tax cheat” is a reference to numerous liens facing Carruth, a developer in the area. By “corrupt Democrat,” McElhannon means David Doss of Rome, the former DOT board member who lost a July 31 primary race for state Senate. Cagle had endorsed Doss.

You may not realize that McElhannon was part of the Cagle team that upset Ralph Reed’s bid to become lieutenant governor in 2006. Cagle and McElhannon, it is fair to say, are no longer close.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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8 comments Add your comment


August 16th, 2012
5:39 pm

Clearly someone pissed in Joel Mcelhanon’s lucky charms this morning. The bitterness doesn’t wear well.


August 16th, 2012
5:44 pm

Deal seems to be very much into the classic political ploy of reward those who have helped you and punish those who have not. Not being judgmental but just observant.


August 16th, 2012
5:46 pm

Looks like Joel hit the Dewar’s earlier than normal today.

Reality Check

August 16th, 2012
5:50 pm

Cagle is a moderate at best that only cares about power. McElhannon states it pretty accurately. Hopefully the Senate will keep all the legislative duties that the constitution gives them and not let bully Cagle intimidate them.


August 16th, 2012
7:31 pm

Joel would know disgrace to Republican party very well. Anybody remember his ad for Mitch Skandalakis?


August 16th, 2012
7:57 pm

Bill Heath is an ass!


August 16th, 2012
7:58 pm

Sorry, Bill Heath is an arrogant ass!


August 16th, 2012
11:22 pm

Bye bye Heath, Chip, Tommie etc. – welcome back Casey