It is unfortunate that the tone of the current gubernatorial election has become so bitter and negative that most Georgians simply want to get this week’s elections over with so they can stop hearing about it.
Unfortunate because this election is important, incredibly important to the state and its future.
The next governor will have a full agenda from day one — returning vitality to the economy, resolving legal entanglements over water, solving transportation woes, improving a weak educational system, helping private industry to create jobs.
Whoever sits in the governor’s mansion will be challenged by those and dozens of other high priority issues, while also facing the hard reality that there will be no new money with which to work.
The next governor also will oversee the redrawing of political districts, an event that takes place every 10 years after the census. The reapportionment process has major long-term implications and often determines whether Democrats or Republicans are elected to seats in the U.S. Congress and the state’s General Assembly.
To accomplish what must be done in Georgia will demand strong leadership from the state’s highest elected official. We are convinced that Nathan Deal is the leader that Georgia needs.
Deal has proven that his is a conservative political voice that speaks the same language as a majority of Georgians. He has not been reluctant to take a firm stand on tough issues, such as illegal immigration and the Obama healthcare plan. His positions have been consistent throughout the campaign, and have not changed in order to win support from one group or another.
Unlike his major opponent, Deal has not made promises that the state cannot afford to keep.
That said, Deal’s campaign for governor has not always been pretty to watch. From the outset the Deal campaign seemed to stumble over a host of little things. His hat was one of the last tossed into the political ring, and much of the campaign has been spent dealing with gaffes that seemed the result of hasty decisions or poor planning.
Like others, we wish Deal had been more forthright in the release of his personal tax returns, more forthcoming with information about his personal finances, more open about the personal business ventures which have led to questions about his ability to draw lines between his private life and his role as an elected official.
His reluctance to release personal financial information has allowed his opponents to generate a lot of smoke on the campaign trail, but there has been very little evidence of any fire to justify it.
In the race for the state’s second highest office, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is seeking re-election and without question deserves another term in office.
Cagle has proven himself a solid, steadying influence in the sometimes chaotic General Assembly. He has shown the ability to work with both Republicans and Democrats on issues of importance, and has demonstrated an impressive knowledge of state government.
In this most unusual of election years where there are few incumbents seeking re-election to top state offices, Cagle can run on his record and have every expectation of support and victory.