"Does that sound sort of familiar?" Deal asked, in an apparent reference to Hillary Clinton's campaign this year.
Barnes, the night of the GOP runoff, began airing television ads. Deal said he was frustrated.
"I was broke, I didn’t have any money
," he said. "I had had a long primary, a long runoff and I was faced with ads to which I could not respond."
Ultimately, however, the Republican Governors Association and others came to his aid and helped him win the general election.
"If we want to win, and I can assure you there are no candidates running for president of the United States on the Republican label who don't want to win," he said. "I don't think there are any candidates running for president who don’t want our ultimate nominee to win.
"Please rally around whoever happens to be our nominee. We can't afford to sit on the sidelines."