Cagle has his big launch for governor’s race

[private]Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has been planning this for the past 12 years — that moment when he would launch his campaign for governor.

It finally happened Sunday at the Infinite Energy Theater in Duluth, with musicians and cheering supporters and a bipartisan gesture as well — Cagle was introduced to the crowd by Monica Kaufman Pearson, the retired news reader for WSB-TV.

Cagle is pushing the usual economic development issues in his campaign: he’ll add 500,000 new jobs during his first term while pushing through a $100 million tax cut and developing a 10-year strategic plan for Georgia’s transportation infrastructure.

In other words, he’s essentially promising a third term of Nathan Deal, but with some inflated numbers about new jobs.

Katy Foody of the Associated Press did some digging into that 500,000 jobs pledge and reported: “State Department of Labor data shows Georgia has added a net total of 267,100 jobs in the last decade, accounting for the enormous job losses that followed the recession that began in 2008. In the last six years, employers added nearly 518,000 jobs to help the state dig out from a deep hole.”

“I want you to know I will lead on regulatory reform,” Cagle said. “The first act I will do is to bring agencies together to create an economic development liaison to push through the bureaucracy so businesses can get their permits, get their doors open and hire people here in Georgia.”

That was a reference to SB 2, Cagle’s proposal in the recent General Assembly session to do away with various business regulations. That bill hit the rocks and sank in the House of Representatives after sailing to passage in the Senate.

There was lots of talk from Cagle about jobs and tax cuts during his campaign launch, but much less mention of another issue: religious liberty.

Cagle at one time was an outspoken supporter of the religious liberty legislation being processed by the Legislature, but he’s dialed back the rhetoric ever since Deal vetoed the last religious liberty measure and the state Chamber of Commerce has opposed it.

Cagle is taking the Zell Miller approach to running for governor.

Miller served four terms as lieutenant governor while he waited for his chance to run for governor, an opportunity that finally came in 1990. Cagle has served in the state’s second-highest office for three terms as he piled up chits and put the pieces together for a statewide run.

At this early point in the race, Cagle would probably be considered the front runner, but he will definitely not have a cleared field in the Republican primary. Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) have already announced they are running, while state Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming) has a fundraising website up.

Others who are mentioned as potential candidates include former congressmen Jack Kingston and Lynn Westmoreland, and political consultant Nick Ayers.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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