In a slight breach of political etiquette, Dalton Mayor David Pennington recently threw his hat into the ring for the 2014 Republican primary as a candidate for Governor of Georgia. The twist to this story is the fact that the man he will be facing is Georgia’s current Republican Governor Nathan Deal.
In a recent address to a group of Young Republicans chapter in Rome, Pennington had some soul-searching questions for his own party:
Is the Georgia Republican Party truly a party of limited government, less spending, less taxes, less regulation, and true transparency in government or not? We’re supposedly governed by limited government conservatives who have not only not cut taxes, in some cases they’ve raised taxes, and at the same time greatly increased spending.
Running a primary campaign against an incumbent in the South is not uncommon historically, but has not been the norm for at least a couple of decades when Democrats ruled the roost virtually unchallenged from the outside for the better part of a century following the Civil War. With the Republican Party comfortably at the helm of Georgia politics, the old-school primary challenge may be trending upward going forward.
Pennington bashed Governor Deal’s fiscal record saying that “over the last three years with this governor in office he’s increased spending by two and half billion dollars. And don’t forget, he really wanted to increase it by four billion dollars because he was a heavy supporter and advocate of the TSPLOST.” The Mayor followed up by stating that “Georgia has lost more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other state in the south.”
Deal is not necessarily an unpopular governor in Georgia, but has taken some heat from liberty advocates in recent months on various issues such as gun rights and Common Core standards. To his credit, the Governor recently agreed to sign a “Liberty Compact” presented to him by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia that included a pledge to restore liberty, reduce taxes, and limit government, among other things.
It will be interesting to watch the primary process transpire over the next year in Georgia, a state that will also be replacing an unpopular senator, Saxby Chambliss, who chose not to seek re-election.
Will individual liberty and limited government remain a top talking points in 2014, or will these fundamentals be drowned out by the usual noise of status quo politics?
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