For the first time in years, there is some genuine excitement over Georgia’s race for governor.
Late last week, Jason Carter, Democrat and Georgia state senator, announced that he plans to run for the state’s top seat in 2014.
As the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, it is almost certain that Jason Carter, 38, will take some serious heat from critics.
Over the past few weeks, Jason Carter’s announcement has already brought on public comments such as “One Carter as governor was enough.”
But Jason Carter’s challenge of Gov. Nathan Deal should make next year’s race extremely interesting to watch, especially compared to 2010 race for governor.
If you recall, former Gov. Roy Barnes and Republican candidate Nathan Deal were apparently competing to see who had the worst reputation in Georgia during that campaign.
In one corner you had Deal, who has lost about $2 million in a failed business owned by his daughter and son-in-law. While Deal’s daughter and her husband tried to wash their hands of the matter by declaring bankruptcy, the Republican candidate was left holding the $2.1 million debt.
It appeared “Daddy Dearest” needed to teach his daughter how to balance a checkbook.
As a result, <<it>>The Atlanta Journal-Constitution<<it>> uncovered that Nathan Deal put his primary residence in Gainesville, Ga., up for sale and that he planned to liquidate his and his wife’s retirement accounts to pay for the debts.
But that was nothing compared to his opponent: Democratic candidate Roy Barnes.
Barnes was known as a governor who loved to wheel and deal, but always tried to play like he was a simple country boy from Georgia.
This, despite the fact, that Augusta’s own former state Sen. Charles Walker was at one time his right-hand man.
When Democrats reigned in Atlanta’s Gold Dome more than a decade ago, Walker was said to be Barnes’ strong arm.
Now, the former senator is nearing the end of his 10-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Estill, S.C., after being convicted in 2005 of 127 criminal charges including conspiracy, mail fraud and filing false charity tax returns relating to deals involving his newspaper, two public hospitals, his campaign contributors and his charity football event, the CSRA Classic.
But who was at Walker’s side during the federal trial against him?
Barnes not only supported Walker, he testified in Walker’s trial. People won’t soon forget that.
So, while Barnes appeared to be a little wiser with his money – reporting a total earnings of more than $27 million since 1984 during his 2010 campaign – the former governor was still carrying a lot of political baggage that definitely hurt his chances to be crowned “King Roy” again.
That’s why voters should look forward to next year’s race. The Republicans will, without a doubt, hammer Jason Carter with a laundry list of complaints and criticisms, but the young Democrat will definitely give Deal a run for his money (what’s left of it).
It’s guaranteed to be a good show, so tune in and watch next year’s battle over the Peach Sta