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Candidate makes breakfast visit
Nathan Deal greets patron Steve Densmore on Friday morning at the Station House restaurant in Cumming. - photo by Jennifer Sami
During his first public appearance in Forsyth County since stepping down from Congress, gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal talked with constituents over a country-style breakfast Friday morning.

“We’re saying hello to folks, reacquainting ourselves,” Deal told patrons at the Station House restaurant in Cumming.

“We’ve got a lot of fine folks in the state of Georgia and many times government has not reached out to them to ask them their opinion or to even to try to involve them. I think the campaign gives you a chance to do that.”

Deal, a Republican from Gainesville, is running for governor after an 18-year career in Washington.

Armed with a cup of coffee, he spoke with about a dozen people, including Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton.

Conversations ranged from the state of the nation to the University of Georgia logo. Possible water solutions for Georgia was another topic.

One matter that didn't surface was a March report from the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The report found that Deal may have violated six House ethics rules by earning too much outside income and by lobbying state officials to protect his auto-salvage business, Gainesville Salvage Disposal.

Deal stepped down from the U.S. House on March 21, before any action could be taken on the allegations.

Following the hour-long breakfast, Deal maintained the position he took early on.

“I have done nothing wrong,” he said. “I had served in public office for almost 30 years and nobody had ever raised any ethical questions about my conduct. This is purely a political activity.

“Moving forward, we’re not going to let this kind of distraction interfere with our campaign.”

His Friday visit also included a chat with Forsyth Solicitor General Leslie Abernathy and Tax Commissioner Matthew Ledbetter.

Deal said he met with the local officials to get “their perspective on what they see are the problems, as they relate to local government and their jobs, and what the state is doing that could be better.”