Georgia Army National Guard Honor Guard Specialist Ronnie Reddish stands at attention during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Marietta National Cemetery on Monday, May 29, 2017. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM.

Georgia 2018: Cagle pledges to send Guard to Mexico border 

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would send Georgia National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico if elected to the state’s top job. Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, meanwhile, said he has no immediate plans to do so. 

In a statement Monday, Cagle said he shares President Donald Trump’s frustration “that the illegal border crossings continue” and pledged to join Mississippi, Missouri,  South Carolina and other states that have dispatched military units to the border.

“Illegal immigration has undermined the rule of law, strained local tax resources and endangered communities,” he said. “Finally we have a president who recognizes the severity of the problem and is going to actually do something about it. Georgians want to be a part of the solution.”

Cagle is one of five Republicans in the May 22 race, and polls show him with a double-digit lead that falls short of the majority-vote margin he needs to avoid a July runoff. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, executive Clay Tippins and state Sen. Michael Williams are also in the contest.

Trump in April requested that states send about 4,000 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight what he’s called a crisis of illegal border crossings and crime.

Deal’s office said the Georgia National Guard has not received a specific request about its needs for the operation.

After Cagle challenged his GOP rivals to “join him in backing President Trump,” Kemp’s campaign noted that he applauded Trump’s border plan on April 4. 

“Welcome to the party!” said Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney. “Better late than never.”

Read more recent AJC coverage of the campaign for governor:

Shifting political ground pushes Georgia candidates away from center  

Abrams, Evans sharpen attacks over HOPE in gov forum  

Georgia 2018: Evans bets on gambling as new divide in gov race  

Abrams banks on debt as advantage in final stretch of gov race  

Brian Kemp: His pitch to conservatives leans hard on law and order  

Clay Tippins: Executive aims to send waves through governor’s race  

Michael Williams: Senator has been Trump backer with similar tactics  

Why Georgia Republicans are shifting to the right on guns  

Hunter Hill: Military vet wages running war on ‘career politicians’  

Casey Cagle: A GOP favorite tries to fend off conservative attack  

How Gov. Deal is shaping the race to succeed him  

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. He joined the newspaper...