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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle files to run for governor of Georgia in 2018
Casey Cagle

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Gainesville native, filed on Monday to run for governor in 2018, making him the latest Republican to enter what is becoming a crowded race to replace Gov. Nathan Deal.

Cagle was elected lieutenant governor in 2006 after several terms in the state Senate after first being elected in 1994. The prominent Georgia Republican made a play at running for governor leading up to the 2010 race, but dropped out after filing in 2008.

In 2017, the 51-year-old Cagle is entering the race to succeed Deal, who is closing his second and final term. Georgia law limits governors to two consecutive terms. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has already entered the race.

Cagle’s campaign is led by Chairman Charles Tarbutton, an influential GOP powerbroker and an assistant vice president at Sandersville Rail Co., and treasurer Tommy Gay, another Gainesville native and co-owner of pet food maker Big Creek Foods.

Tarbutton has been a close friend of Cagle since 2005, Tarbutton told the Times on Wednesday. Tarbutton was the chairman of Cagle’s 2010 and 2014 re-election campaigns and said he has “an enormous amount of confidence” in Cagle.

“Good jobs, safe neighborhoods, good schools — those are the things that families are concerned about,” Tarbutton said. “Those are the things that government can really impact, and he has proven a leader over his time in service to the people of Georgia and is prepared to continue to lead at the next level.”

The formal campaign announcement is expected later this month.

Cagle’s campaign committee, Cagle for Georgia, has set up an office on Chamblee Tucker Road in the Embry Hills neighborhood of Atlanta.