3/6/18 - Atlanta - Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, surrounded by supporters, addresses the media after he qualified to run for governor this afternoon. Qualifying for Georgia's 2018 elections began Monday and runs through Friday. Georgia has races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and other statewide posts, and every congressional seat nationwide is up for a vote in November. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Cagle’s first TV ad nods to illegal immigration, Delta 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle launched the first volley of a more than $4.4 million TV ad blitz Wednesday with a nod to illegal immigration and a hint about his push to “kill” an aviation tax break benefiting Delta Air Lines.

His 30-second spot starts with a line that may be aimed at GOP rivals promising conservative upheavals if elected: “Political talkers may mean well, but leaders get things done.” 

It later pivots to talk about his illegal immigration stance, which might as well be aimed at Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who has emphasized the topic and focused his first round of TV ads on his pledge for a new crackdown.  

But the most interesting part may be what was not overtly mentioned: Delta or the National Rifle Association.

His ad featured praise for Cagle from Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Lou Dobb after a tax break on fuel for Delta was jettisoned because the airline severed marketing ties with the NRA. But it never directly mentions either.

Public and private polling shows Cagle with a commanding lead over Kemp and three other GOP rivals in the May 22 primary and a muddled contest for the No. 2 spot in a likely July runoff. But the timing of the ad may be a sign Cagle is feeling some pressure.

Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and businessman Clay Tippins have each already aired their own ads, and several of them take aim squarely at Cagle. (State Sen. Michael Williams and the two Democrats – Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans – have yet to air TV ads.) 

Cagle’s campaign was initially set to go on air in early April with a six-week barrage, after a few weeks of TV spots from a friendly outside group. But he quietly dug deeper into his nearly $7 million campaign haul to launch about two weeks ahead of schedule. 

Watch it for yourself:

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.