Barge explains run for governor

by: Lori Geary Updated:


ATLANTA - Republican Superintendent Dr. John Barge explained why he is throwing his hat into the governor's race. Barge becomes the second Republican to challenge incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

"In my opinion, being an incumbent is not a free pass to a second term," Barge said in anexclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News' Lori Geary and the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Greg Bluestein. "You need to earn a second term."

Dalton Mayor David Pennington has already announced his campaign for governor.

Barge said his two main issues will be economic development and his passion for public education, which he said has not been funded adequately the past three years, even though state revenues are up.

Barge said Deal has never fully supported teachers.

"I don't know that they've seen any support out of that office for several years," he said. "No raises, furlough days, shortened school calendars."

Deal's team fired back, his spokesman released a statement that said, "You can tell the strength of Gov. Deal's position with the Republican primary electorate by the quality of the opponents who have announced against him. Recent polls show the governor getting 70 percent of the primary vote. Just like yesterday's jobs announcement, this is more bad news for David Pennington, who'll now be competing with John Barge for the 10 percent of the voters open to a challenger."

Deal has deep campaign pockets, with more than $1 million  in his coffers.

Barge said he's launching a grassroots campaign and knows it's not easy to challenge a sitting governor who is also a member of the same  party.

"I so believe in something has to change," he said. "I think Georgia needs a leader who will govern and not play politics."

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