Carter enters race for governor

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State Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) officially qualified Wednesday morning to run for the same statewide office his grandfather held more than 40 years ago: governor of Georgia.

Accompanied by former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and business leader Michael Coles, Carter filed the paperwork to enter what will be a headline political race this fall between himself and incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal (assuming Deal handles his opposition in the Republican primary).

As he talked to a gaggle of reporters and camera people, Carter tried to frame the race as a contrast between young and old candidates (he will be 39 this year, while Deal will be 72) as well as between competing visions for the state’s future.

“We are ready to have a broad debate about what it means to have a successful Georgia,” Carter said. “All of the polling data we have seen up to now shows me people are ready to listen.”

Carter enters the race as an underdog to Deal, who has raised more money and is a conservative Republican candidate in a state that leans decidedly Republican.

“This is a conservative state, but it’s not necessarily a Republican state,” Carter said. “Georgians are Georgians – partisanship comes second.”

“Gov. Deal has not been a problem-solver to the extent we need,” Carter contended. “They’re not looking for answers anymore and I think the people would like to hear some answers.”

The governor’s race is already attracting national attention in part because of the fact that Carter’s grandfather, Jimmy Carter, is a former governor and president.

Carter will be paired at the top of the ballot with Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate who is the daughter of former longtime senator Sam Nunn.

Rematch in Macon

The upcoming race for the state Senate District 26 seat in Macon will be the rubber match between Sen. David Lucas (D-Macon) and Miriam Paris.

They have been down this path before. Paris defeated Lucas in a 2011 special election in this Senate district and served a little more than year in the upper chamber.

Lucas, who served 37 years in the Georgia House, came back and toppled Paris in the 2012 Democratic primary to take the seat away from her. Paris qualified this week to run against Lucas for a third time in the May 20 primary.

A free-for-all in Gwinnett

Another incumbent senator who will have to fend off competition in his own party’s primary is Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville), the longest-serving Republican in the upper chamber with 22 years service.

Balfour survived a theft indictment in Fulton County Superior Court last year over the filing of inaccurate expense reports with the state – he was acquitted after a jury trial in December.

In the upcoming Republican primary, former Gwinnett County commissioner Mike Beaudreau and Lawrenceville insurance agent P. K. Martin have both qualified to run against Balfour.

Williams will be back

In recent election cycles, there has been considerable speculation that Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) would be leaving the state Senate to run for another office such as the 12th Congressional District seat.

That congressional race never happened, but when Williams stepped down as Senate president pro tem two years, it was assumed in many quarters that he might retire from the Senate after one more term in office.

That won’t happen either. Williams qualified this week to run for another term in Senate District 19.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Lucas , Don Balfour , governor\'s race , Jason Carter , Miriam Paris , Nathan Deal , Tommie Williams