Jimmy Carter to make a (quasi) debut on the campaign trail

Former President Jimmy Carter. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM Former President Jimmy Carter in a 2014 interview. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com
Caption
Former President Jimmy Carter. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM Former President Jimmy Carter in a 2014 interview. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Jimmy Carter is about to step out more forcefully on the campaign trail for his grandson's gubernatorial bid.

The former president has hosted fundraisers for Jason Carter's campaign, offered his behind-the-scenes counsel and prodded donors to open up their wallets to defeat Gov. Nathan Deal. Until now, though, he has tried to take what he calls a "minimal" role on the campaign trail.

That's about to change. The former president is headlining an event at an Albany church on Sunday, the day before the start of early voting. Carter, his grandson and Rep. Sanford Bishop will each speak to the congregation.

It could be the first of more campaign events for the ex-president, whose wife Rosalynn has already been roaming Georgia stumping for her grandson.

Deal campaign spokesman Brian Robinson welcomed the news. The homegrown president is widely beloved for his humanitarian work outside the White House but remains a divisive figure for his one-term presidential record.

"We're bipartisan," said Robinson. "We'd like to help publicize these events."

The governor pointed to the elder Carter's fundraisers in other parts of the country, and said "it's about time he did so in Georgia."

Added Deal:

"I have no problem with that, and I respect President Carter, and I understand ... I think the people of this state are not going to be unduly swayed by that. I think we can respect his opinion. But we are not a state nor a nation in which titles such as governor are inherited by virtue of your legacy. It is a position that's voted on by the people of this state, and I don't think we're going to see that kind of influence have a significant difference."

In our interview with the former president, he said he was trying to strike a balance with his grandson’s campaign but was wary of making a high-profile incursion into the race.

“But when he asks us to do something, we’ll make every effort to do so.”

With less than four weeks to go until the election, that time may have come.

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks