District 27 state Sen. Michael Williams had strong words for one of his gubernatorial opponents.
Williams, who represents much of Forsyth County, held a press conference on Thursday at the Georgia State Capitol, where he spoke in support of law enforcement officers and out against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is also running for governor, going as far as to ask him to drop out of the race.
“I want to make it clear to everyone in the state of Georgia the despicable, reprehensible, political games that Casey Cagle is playing as he seeks more and more power,” Williams said. “Does anyone here believe that after 24 years as a politician, this is the moment that he begins working for the average Joe? We all know the answer.”
Williams, the first elected official in the state to support the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump, said he and others supported proposed Senate Bill 254, which set a minimum salary for sheriff’s deputies and the Georgia State Patrol and provided for cost-of-living and performance increases, and similar legislation. The bill did not pass this year, which Williams said was Cagle's doing.
“When legislation was introduced by myself and others to provide an across-the-board pay raise for all law enforcement officers who are earning less than a livable wage, Casey would not only deny his support, he actively made sure to kill the legislation,” he said.
Williams received support for the bill from Dog the Bounty Hunter, who recently announced his official endorsement of the Forsyth senator.
He accused Cagle, who he called “Campaign Casey,” of only supporting law enforcement and pay raises when politically convenient.
“Unfortunately, Casey Cagle is attempting to use and exploit law enforcement officers here in Georgia for his own political gain, with no real intention of providing them the much-needed financial relief they seek,” Williams said. “We have police officers that are serving, working three jobs and barely making ends meet. Even more shameful, we have law enforcement officers who rely on food stamps to feed their families.”
Previously, Williams said members of Cagle's campaign team offered him the Senate Appropriations chairmanship if he stepped down from his bid for governor. Williams did not give the name of the official when asked by media members on Tuesday.
During the press conference, Williams spoke on the line-of-duty death of New York Police Department officer Miosotis Familia, who was killed earlier this month.
“New York officer Miosotis Familia was assassinated in cold blood as she sat in her police vehicle serving the people of her state,” he said. “Sadly, these types of instances have increased across the country. Our law enforcement officers put everything on the line for us, and in the case of Miosotis, she gave her life serving the people of her state.”
Officials with Cagle's campaign could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Williams and Cagle will face off against fellow Republicans Secretary of State Brian Kemp and District 6 state Sen. Hunter Hill and Democrats state Reps. Stacey Abrams, of District 89 and the state House minority leader, and Stacey Evans, of District 42.
The candidates have already raised a total of more than $7.6 million combined toward the race.
They are vying to replace Gov. Nathan Deal, who is term-limited.