Michael Williams, who is running for governor and whose District 27 represents the majority of Forsyth County in the state senate, said he was offered a high position to call off his campaign for governor and had other strong words for the state party.
On Saturday, Williams spoke at the Georgia Republican Convention in Augusta, where he claimed that he had been offered a key legislative position to abandon his campaign for governor.
“Not 25 minutes ago back there in this room, I was offered the appropriations chairmanship if I did not run,” Williams said. “Let me be clear, I am not running for power of for prestige, I am running because I am sick and tired of career politicians who do not care about us.
“I will not be scared away and I cannot be bought.”
Williams, who could not be reached for comment as of press time, had strong words for the state party in his address and said the state should have been able to accomplish more with a conservative majority.
“We need to return to our true Republican principles,” Williams said. “Georgia has had a Republican Governor for almost 16 years with a Republican controlled House and Senate for over a decade.
“So where is the conservative reforms that the people in this room have fought so hard for?”
To applause from the crowd, Williams said the state had not gone far enough to get rid of the state income tax, follow through with school choice measures or pass constitutional carry for firearms.
Williams said the campaign would be hard fought and told the crowd of the obstacles he had faced locally to beat out incumbent Jack Murphy during his first election in 2014.
“It was a brutal campaign; they threw everything under the sun and more at me,” he said. “I spent over $300,000 of my own money battling their false attacks. There is no low that goes too far for them; they even blackballed me from joining my local rotary club for having the audacity of challenging the ‘incumbent.’
“They threated to destroy my character and reputation, letting me know they had the power to do so that I was a ‘newcomer’ and therefore they could control the process, the media and the money. Much of that they did, but what they didn’t count on was that they could not control you, the voters.”
Last week, Williams announced his candidacy for govenor. He was previously elected to his current seat in 2014 and re-elected in 2016.
He was also the first elected official in Georgia to endorse then-nominee Donald Trump for president and said Trump’s successful bid pushed him to run for governor.
“We had people reaching out to find someone to continue that movement that Trump was able to tap into,” he said. “Even though I’m an elected official now, I’m still an outsider business guy, and we feel like there’s an opportunity there to just bring fearless conservative values to the state of Georgia.”
Williams will go, so far, up against Republicans who already hold higher offices than he, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. District 6 state Sen. Hunter Hill (Atlanta) is also running to replace Gov. Nathan Deal, who is term-limited.