Pro-Cagle booster launches $1.2M ad buy in Georgia gov race

The campaign already plans a $4.4M blitz before the vote
Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is running for governor. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is running for governor. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

An issues advocacy group rolled out a pair of statewide ads Tuesday praising Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's education policies and illegal immigration crackdown, providing air support for the Republican ahead of his own multimillion blitz.

Citizens for Georgia's Future said the $1.2 million ad buy will launch the two ads in the Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah TV markets. Cagle's gubernatorial campaign earlier said it shelled out $4.4 million to air six weeks worth of ads ahead of the May primary.

The first ad, "21st Century," focuses on Cagle's College and Career Academies initiative. The second, "Stop," centers on his pledge to crackdown on illegal immigration. Both end with the same image of Cagle at a microphone as a narrator exhorts voters to reach out to the candidate.

The group is set up as a 501(c)4 rather than a super PAC, which means it doesn't have to disclose its donors. The group's spokesman is Dan McLagan, a former senior aide to Sonny Perdue and a veteran GOP political operative known for his bruising political style and pithy one-liners.

The Cagle campaign’s $4.4 million ad buy reserved airtime in the same six broadcast markets as well as radio, cable and satellite spots.

Though Cagle and his allies have an overwhelming financial advantage, he’s not the first to go on air. Two Cagle opponents have launched their own salvos, and both feature a familiar face.

Business executive Clay Tippins put $250,000 behind his 60-second spot on Super Bowl Sunday, complete with a Cagle impersonator dressed in powder-blue tux. And ex-state Sen. Hunter Hill spent nearly $400,000 days later that showed a Cagle doppelganger flailing in an obstacle course.

Cagle’s two other Republican opponents - Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sen. Michael Williams - have yet to go on air. Neither have the two Democrats in the race, former state lawmakers Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.

Cagle and his boosters can afford to blanket the airwaves. He’s collected nearly $7 million in campaign funds, and outside groups supporting his bid are amassing their own hauls.

Watch “Stop” below:

Watch “21st Century” below:

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