Retired State Legislator backs Perdue:
Businessman Dan Ponder Jr., a former Democrat-turned-Republican state lawmaker, said he would have backed Cox in the general election had she not been defeated by Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.
“I think Sonny, in the race as it stands, has earned a second term,” said Ponder, a Hardee’s franchisee from the southwest Georgia town of Donalsonville who retired from the Legislature six years ago. Ponder, 52, replaced Cox in the House in 1996 when Cox left her legislative seat to become an assistant secretary of state.
Cox, who named Ponder as the formal head of her campaign operation in 2004 as a show of bipartisanship, could not be reached for comment. Her spokesman, Chris Riggall, said Ponder notified Cox Thursday of his decision by e-mail and voice mail.
“She thinks as highly of Dan as she did before,” Riggall said. “It’s obviously not something they consulted on.”
Ponder said both Perdue and Taylor sought his support. He said he was approached by Perdue — through an intermediary. Taylor telephoned him.
Taylor’s campaign spokesman Rick Dent dismissed Ponder’s endorsement as politically insignificant. Ponder switched to the GOP in the late 1990s after becoming unhappy with the direction of the state party.
“Whoop-de-do. You got a Republican flak endorsing a crumby Republican governor,” Dent said.
However, Ponder’s support of Perdue comes at a time when Cox herself has ducked any public appearance with Taylor, despite repeated invitations from the Taylor camp. Her failure to appear with the lieutenant governor is symptomatic of a deep and bitter division between the Cox and Taylor camps after their brutal primary.
Cox will not attend the state Democratic convention Saturday in College Park, opting for a trip to Canada with her sister.
The convention is a show of party unity and a pep rally for Taylor and Democratic candidates as they head into the final seven weeks of the campaign.
That Rick Dent is one sarcastic dude. 🙂
Ponder is a Republican, but it’s not good news for Taylor.