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Kathy Cox and the Republican dilemma

Last week, former state lawmaker Roger Hines of Kennesaw became the second Republican to announce a 2010 primary challenge to state School Superintendent Kathy Cox.

His campaign slogan — “We can do better” — isn’t the catchy phrase likely to make Gov. Sonny Perdue smile.

The retired high school teacher enters the race with the support of a dozen or so GOP legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock, so it is not to be taken lightly. Richard Woods of Tifton, also an educator, is the other GOP candidate.

“Education in Georgia is too important to get caught up in party politics,” Rogers said in Hines’ defense. But serious primary challenges to incumbents are rare, and they always mean something.

Officially, Hines is running against the lack of progress in Georgia schools under both Cox and Perdue and the “testing mania” that he says has killed the joy of teaching. The state Department of Education, Hines said, “has become a data management center. It …

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