The question echoing in Georgia's statehouse is not just who gets in the governor's race (and how soon) but who lines up to take their place. And we now have a pretty good clue about one of the more intriguing contests.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp has long been seen as a likely candidate for Georgia's top job, and the jockeying to replace him if he takes the leap is already underway. Some of the loudest whispers we heard were from supporters of state Sen. Michael Williams, the Cumming Republican and businessman who owned a chain of haircut franchises before he was elected on an outsider's platform in 2014.
In a statement from his campaign strategist, Seth Weathers, Williams staked an early claim for Kemp's seat if the incumbent doesn't seek reelection. Here goes:
This is where it gets interesting. Williams was the first elected state official in Georgia to endorse Donald Trump and is co-chair of his state campaign. (He was also an early backer of that other self-appointed outsider, Sen. David Perdue). And Weathers was Trump's first Georgia campaign operative, and still has close ties to the campaign.
Win or lose in November, Trump has transformed Republican politics in Georgia. And Williams' potential candidacy is another signal that Trump's allies are looking to make a lasting imprint far beyond this year's contests.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.