On the surface, it might not seem like there is much in common between Michael Williams, a CPA and Forsyth County's state senator who is campaigning to be Georgia’s next governor, and Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, who has been chasing criminals for more than 40 years.
However, the two are set in their goals of supporting law enforcement and getting the right Republicans in office.
Over the weekend, Chapman and Williams, who represents the majority of Forsyth County in District 27, held several events to meet voters and get the word out about Williams’ campaign.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chapman and Williams met with the Forsyth County News to discuss the partnership, which began at the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January.
“We met because he is strong for law enforcement,” Chapman said. “They were all telling me about this guy who was running for governor of Georgia that was very strong law and order.”
Chapman said he knew before most that Williams planned to run and called Williams's campaign manager, Seth Weathers, daily. Once the news broke, he said he and his wife, Beth, celebrated from their home in Hawaii.
“I was very upset because he decided to run for governor way before he announced it,” Chapman said. “I was calling Seth every day asking ‘Did he let the bomb go?’
“We celebrated at the house … it was kind of like a Super Bowl, your team wins and you go outside and scream, 'Yay!'”
On Tuesday, Williams, dressed businesses-casual in a button-up shirt and slacks, and Chapman, in his iconic sunglasses, long blonde hair and cowboy boots, were stopped several times by passersby for pictures and conversations, including two young fans who had been waiting by the elevator for Chapman for some time.
Over the weekend, there were two limited, private dinners held on Saturday and Monday, with required donations of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.
“It was a good crowd. We had a good time. It was kind of a private setting that the supporters of Dog and myself could interact one-on-one for an evening. [Tuesday was] more of a larger crowd,” Williams said.
Williams said his favorite moment came on Sunday.
“Something else he’s been at was a church here in Cumming, he had two services this past Sunday. Packed house,” he said. “Two dozen people came to Christ because of [Chapman's] testimony.”
Since Trump’s inauguration, the two have been working together in support of law enforcement.
In March, Williams released a video with Chapman endorsing his proposed Senate Bill 254, which set a minimum salary for deputies and the Georgia State Patrol and provided for cost-of-living and performance increases. The bill did not pass this year.
Chapman endorsed Williams in early July.
“We’re in a time of really, really making America safe,” Chapman said. ”While [Trump] is making America safe, [Williams] is going to make the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, safe. You get all these guys together, 51 of them, and you become a family and team, no matter if they’re Democrats or Republicans.”
On Tuesday evening, the pair held another event at the Sonesta Hotel in Duluth, a last-minute change from the nearby 1818 Club, where supporters were able to meet and talk to Williams and Chapman before both made remarks.
“I’ve been following politics for quite some time, especially conservative politics, and I heard Dog was conservative and interested in what was going on here in Georgia, and it made me a little more interested in Michael Williams,” said Peter Rumsey, a Williams supporter from Gwinnett. “I just feel like he is a good candidate and he’s going to bring a lot of good change to our state in terms of spending.”
Robin Petranck, of Dawson County, said she met Williams at a bank last year after he commented on her car’s Trump bumper sticker.
“I’ve just been really excited to see this new blood coming in Georgia,” she said. “I’m a little disappointed in what we have at the Golden Dome downtown at the moment; they’ve just reneged so many times.
“I thought [tonight] was awesome; you learned a little about both of them.”
At the event, Chapman went through much of his past, including getting the Dog nickname from when he hung out with the Hells Angels in his youth by the chapter leader, where he said he wouldn’t rob houses on Wednesdays when people were at church and prayed over his meals.
“We had a guy named The Preacher and a guy named John the Baptist, so all the Christian names were gone,” he said. "So the presidents of my club said, 'Listen, you’re Dog; you’re always there, you’re man’s best friend, you’re always there during fights, and it’s God spelled backwards.”
Chapman, who cannot carry a gun due to a felony conviction in his youth, said he had tazed or used a pepper ball gun on 2,000 people, told the crowd stories of his career and what made him get involved with politics and increasing police pay.
He even, jokingly, had some tough words for Williams.
“If he doesn’t do what he says, I’m going to put a hit on him,” Chapman joked. “No, he would never do that. He would never burn us like some people have.