McCarley passes away

Mac McCarley has passed away.

William “Mac” McCarley, the straight-shooting, chain-smoking 2006 longshot Democratic gubernatorial candidate, died Wednesday of lung cancer. He was 79.

“He wanted to make a difference and that was great for him,” said his daughter, Sherry Newman, who had confirmed his death. “I wish more people would do that.”

McCarley had been out of elected office nearly 40 years when he decided to jump into the Democratic primary against Mark Taylor, Cathy Cox and Bill Bolton. He had pondered the idea for a year; he figured his faint chance was good enough.

“If I get my word out there, then folks will elect me,” he told The Atlanta Journal Constitution in June. “But it’s a steep hill to climb. I’m not an idiot.”

Using his savings, donations raised by email and $1,000 from his accountant, McCarley ran a low-budget campaign, driving miles across the state alone and without a staff.

He had hoped to throw the race into a runoff, but finished fourth.