Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, now a Republican candidate for governor. AJC/JASON GETZ
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

The Jolt: Casey Cagle predicts a two-month runoff in GOP race for governor

Casey Cagle took his Republican campaign for governor on the road Monday, sprinkling news like an April shower.

In the morning, the lieutenant governor played the lowered expectation game. Cagle is the presumed frontrunner, but told crowds that it was “mathematically impossible” for him to win the gubernatorial nomination outright in a May primary, according to the Gainesville Times.

That means two extra months of primary campaigning – a runoff would be July 24.

Which may be why, that afternoon, Nita Cagle asked supporters for a very specific birthday present: A 50 percent-plus-one margin for her husband on May 22. (Her birthday is May 23.)

In a one-on-one interview with 11Alive’s Doug Richards on Monday, Cagle also explained his opposition to a ban on assault rifles in two words: Wild pigs. From the TV station’s website:

Cagle noted that farmers in south Georgia often face problems with feral hogs destroying cropland and rooting up tree saplings. Feral hogs are legal to hunt, and Cagle says he has used an assault rifle himself to hunt hogs.

“I’ve actually experienced it,” he said. Asked if a shotgun or .22 rifle are sufficient to manage feral hog populations on farms, Cagle said: “No, no, no – you can’t manage (them that way), no no. And anybody who tells you that obviously isn’t spending any time on the farm. Nor has ever shot a hog.”

But Cagle, who last week received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, also said he opposed a “constitutional carry” law that would gun owners to conceal and carry handguns without a permit – something favored by GOP rivals Michael Williams, Hunter Hill and other Republican candidates for governor.

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State Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, who leads in the Republican money race for lieutenant governor, launched his first TV ad of the campaign. It’s on the air in metro Atlanta, and Shafer describes the buy behind it as substantial. The ad is somewhat biographical, and leads on his adoption as a child. But this line is very likely to rile his Republican friends in the House, given two years of wrangling over a rewrite of the state’s adoption laws:

“I led the fight to make adoptions easier and more affordable in Georgia, because every child has the right to life.”

Watch it here:

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The economy giveth, and the economy taketh away. Gov. Nathan Deal this morning announced that Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. will spend $55 million to expand operations in Savannah, with a net gain of 200 jobs. Also today: The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer tells us that NCR Corp., will close both of its plants in that city, as well as another in Beijing. More than 1,000 jobs will be lost in Columbus.

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Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  was in middle Georgia on Monday, but you wouldn’t have known from his schedule. The agency did not acknowledge his official visit to Cochran, southeast of Warner Robins, until after Pruitt’s meeting with Georgia forestry officials. The alleged topics of discussion: The “importance of environmental stewardship” and the announcement of “a new decision on the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.”

We weren’t the only ones to be left in the dark on Pruitt’s appearance: 

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Courtesy in Washington isn’t completely dead. On Monday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved the nomination of Mike Pompeo, currently CIA director, as secretary of State. Despite the close vote, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., voted “present.”

Why? The Washington Examiner reports that it was a courtesy to Senate colleague Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who was in Atlanta to deliver a eulogy for John Williams, the developer and philanthropist. Williams died unexpectedly last week.

Republicans were short one vote because of the funeral, so Democrats shorted themselves a vote. From the newspaper:

Coons explained that after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., changed his vote earlier Monday and ultimately backed Pompeo, “there was clearly an 11-10 majority on committee to report the Pompeo nomination favorably to the floor.”

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Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has kept his cards close to the vest on Ronny Jackson, the White House physician Trump nominated to run the VA. But in recent days the Republican has called top administration officials to voice his concern about Jackson’s qualifications and to say he would rather have Thomas Bowman, currently the VA’s deputy secretary, according to The Washington Post. Isakson was a vocal ally of David Shulkin, the man Trump fired amid a travel scandal and dispute over his stance on privatizing some VA services. The paper reports that senators have postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing, initially scheduled for this week.

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CDC chief Robert Redfield is making nearly twice as much as his predecessor did on the job. Time magazine reports that the HIV researcher is making $375,000 annually to run the Atlanta-based public health agency. That’s nearly twice as much as former Georgia public health commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald made in the gig, and at least $150,000 more a year than other previous CDC directors, according to the magazine. 

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Bobby Kaple, a Democratic candidate for the Sixth District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, has picked up the endorsement of former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. Barnes cited “the issue of children's healthcare.”

Kaple seeks to position himself as the race’s consensus Democratic candidate. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young and Georgia Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson. (Jeremy Redmon)

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Buzz Brockway has received some prominent financial reinforcement in his campaign for secretary of state. The Gwinnett Republican recently received a $1,500 contribution from House Speaker David Ralston. He faces three other Republicans -- including fellow state Rep. Brad Raffensperger - in the May 22 contest. 

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Another GOP contender for the post of secretary of state, state Sen. Josh McKoon, debuted a minute-long radio ad today in which he promises to “put an end to illegals voting.” In a bid for the GOP base, McKoon also touts the measure that he’s best known for -- a “religious liberty” bill that Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed two years ago.

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