The Jolt: A fiery Cagle ad blasts ‘dirty tricks and fake news’

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle faces a July 24 runoff with Secretary of State Brian Kemp for the Republican nomination for governor. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle faces a July 24 runoff with Secretary of State Brian Kemp for the Republican nomination for governor. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Casey Cagle's newest ad shows a side of the Republican candidate we haven't really seen before. And he's using it in the final weeks of the GOP runoff for governor to counter Brian Kemp's claims that he's a squishy conservative.

The ad, filmed at a Gainesville rally, shows a fiery lieutenant governor blasting “dirty tricks and fake news” as he stomps on a stage flanked by family and friends.

“I’ll never apologize for stopping those that stand in the way of conservative school reform for our kids, or cutting taxes that create jobs. I’ll never apologize for outlawing sanctuary cities or stopping liberals from taking the values that make our country great.”

And then, voice rising as the crowd applauds: “The time for conservatives getting kicked around is over.”

ExploreWatch the ad here.

It's Cagle's sixth in a series of ads that will run through the July 24 vote, and it comes a day after Kemp leveled his strongest TV attack yet: A 30-second direct-to-camera spot invoking the secretly-recorded audio of Cagle admitting he supported "bad public policy" that has rocked the race.

Kemp supporters responded with an eye-roll.

“There’s nothing fake about Cagle’s voice being heard saying that he changed his policy position because of money,” said state Rep. Scot Turner. “That’s corruption. Cagle is corrupt. Period.”


We explored earlier this week the new phase of nastiness in the GOP race for governor that led Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to claim Brian Kemp lobbed a "sexist attack" at one of his prominent supporters.

It was a reference to Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney’s remarks calling state Sen. Renee Unterman “mentally unstable” after she urged prosecutors to look into Kemp’s campaign contributions.

Unterman waited a day to respond to the attack - and then unloaded a lengthy, and deeply personal, post on Facebook detailing her family's struggles with mental illness.

Here’s a snippet:

Yesterday the Brian Kemp for Governor campaign, through its spokesperson, said I am mentally unstable and "need to take my meds before I hurt someone." He was referring to my divorce many years ago and the tragedy that occurred after it. My life is an open book w transparency written often times on the front page of a newspaper. Yes, I suffered from depression during my divorce and sought treatment. Who doesn't when you have such a major life transition like a divorce, especially when kids are involved? The circumstances of my divorce were tragic just as many people can relate to.

Ironically my son Zak would be celebrating his 35th birthday today, July 10, 2018, had he not chosen to commit suicide due to mental illness. He was a vibrant, witty beautiful boy who cared for others all the time, so much so, that he didn't express his own inner demons of depression. The divorce and missing his father, took its toll to say the least. A parent's worst nightmare is to bury a child.

So Brian Kemp, who wants to become our state leader, you can make fun of me and belittle those who have had or will have mental illness, but you won't shut me up for speaking out. I won't be intimidated, blackmailed, belittled, or sexually harassed into being quiet. I will always speak out for the little person, the underdog, and the disadvantaged.


Republican Geoff Duncan is out with a new spot this week in his bid for lieutenant governor. The ex-state legislator, who faces state Sen. David Shafer on July 24, nods to his baseball career, his call for term limits and his outsider appeal. "Underdogs? Maybe we are. So let's go hard." Watch the ad here.


In the secretary of state's race, David Belle Isle has a hard-hitting attack ad targeting Brad Raffensperger hitting the airwaves this week. The ex-Alpharetta mayor seized on an AJC report about the more than $135,000 in tax liens on Raffensperger's ledger. The two Republicans have a July 24 runoff date for the right to face Democrat John Barrow. Watch the ad here.

Here's a not-so-official gubernatorial ad that's also worth checking out.


Monroe Congressman Jody Hice is sticking by a pal on the House Freedom Caucus who is accused of ignoring sexual abuse allegations while an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. The second-term Republican defended the character of Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, who's currently under fire for saying he wasn't aware of allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, a former OSU doctor who treated athletes and allegedly groped some.

“As Congressman Jordan has said, any allegation of abuse must be investigated and any victim must receive justice,” said Hice of Jordan, who previously led the Freedom Caucus. “As to whether he looked the other way, having served alongside Congressman Jordan for nearly four years, I have always known him to be an honorable husband, father, and public servant. I cannot imagine a scenario in which he would act with anything less than the utmost integrity, and I stand by Jim.”

Several former wrestlers said Jordan was aware of the allegations while he was at the school.


As far as we're concerned, the 6th District congressional race has been pretty darn quiet – at least compared to last year's record-breaking spend-a-thon. Only a few outside groups have chosen to get involved so far. But one major exception has been Everytown for Gun Safety.

The gun control group's political arm has now spent more than $1.1 million bolstering its former spokeswoman Lucy McBath, one of two Democrats vying to take on U.S. Rep. Karen Handel this fall, according to new campaign filings.

That kind of spending is pretty unusual for a primary race, particularly against an opponent who also favors gun control. Everytown's spending has even become a point of contention in McBath's runoff against businessman Kevin Abel.


U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's Senate VA Committee advanced the nomination of Robert Wilkie, President Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. The panel's favorable vote on Tuesday all but ensures that Wilkie will be confirmed by the full chamber in the weeks ahead.

Isakson, who has led the VA committee since 2015, said Wilkie “has the expertise and the positive attitude to take on challenges that lie ahead, and he will prove indispensable in helping transform the VA.” “I urge my colleagues to support his nomination, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to fill this important position and bring stability and leadership to the VA,” he said after the vote.

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