Oxendine for Governor?

Gary Reese at Insider Advantage is reporting that Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine will announce his candidacy for Governor within the next two weeks:

Oxendine made it clear that he will move forward regardless of other potential candidates who might enter the race.

In an exclusive talk with InsiderAdvantage, Oxendine indicated that frustrations arising from the most recent legislative session, roundly criticized by the media and many Republicans, prompted him to take the early move towards running for governor. Oxendine, who was elected insurance commissioner in 1994, has built a powerful fundraising political organization that could mount an extremely potent gubernatorial bid.

Oxendine will be a formidable candidate. He received more votes than any other candidate in 2006, 2002, and second only to Tommy Irvin in 1998.


  1. Jace Walden says:


    I know you to be a smart individual. Could you please explain to me why any small-government conservative could possibly be pimping the potential candidacy of one of the biggest, big-g0vernment Republicans in the Senate?

    Also, if you could explain how Isakson wouldn’t just be a third term of the Governor Perdoofus mentality, I would appreciate it.



  2. drjay says:

    i hope not–i was wary of him in the past but have grown to be quite a fan of the commissioner and would likely be quite amiable to a run for guv by him…

  3. Donkey Kong says:


    Isakson has become one of the more conservative members of the Senate — especially compared to Saxby. I don’t know enough about Oxendine and am absolutely keeping an open mind, but I don’t think Isakson would put up with the games that Sonny plays. Of the available candidates for Governor, I think Johnny is the best (i.e. Kingston, Linder, Cagle, Richardson, etc.).

    Now, if Handel were to run…that would be a whole new ballgame.

  4. SouthFultonGuy says:

    With the posting that the net cast as part of the Ron Sailor probe included the executive branch in addition to legislators I wondered who they might be after in the executive branch.

    Do you think his pending gubernatorial candidacy mean Oxendine has nothing to worry about?

  5. bowersville says:

    I’m not speaking for Jace………..take close look at Handel, if she runs. She is my pick.

  6. Donkey Kong says:

    bowersville —

    I agree. I am not expecting Handel to run, though if she were to run, I’d have to look much more closely. The problem, though, is that it’s practically political suicide to run against Isakson. I’m not sure if there is any candidate that can beat him — he could only beat himself. And I think he’s too experienced to do something stupid enough to cost him the mansion.

  7. Donkey Kong says:

    She’s finding another AJC reporter to bash. Not that it’s a terrible preoccupation, though I’d prefer she moved up the chain to ridiculing the AJC editors…they are the ones that really deserve the criticism.

    Not that it really matters. The AJC is going the way of the Georgia Gang — the only people that watch/read it are those who opine on its worthlessness and exude shock that anyone watches it/reads it.

  8. Jace Walden says:

    Donkey Kong,

    I disagree with your assessment about Isakson being conservative. Anyone looks conservative if you compare them to Saxby!

    Donkey Kong and Bowersville,

    I agree 100%. I’d love to see some Karen Handel running for Governor. She would definitely be first on my list. But, since her name isn’t being thrown around too much, I’d have to say my “pick” (even though I’m mad at how he ran the Senate this session) is Casey Cagle.

  9. Jace Walden says:

    And even he might not even run…

    But if the choice is between Johnny Isakson, a Democrat, and a Libertarian, I’ll choose the Libertarian. Not that it’ll matter…this is a solidly RedState.

  10. Donkey Kong says:

    Cagle a libertarian??? If that were so, he’d be my choice too. How is Cagle different than RINO Sonny?

  11. jsm says:

    I don’t think Ox has a chance, but I’ve disbelieved stranger possibilities that came to fruition. I mean, whoever thought McCain would end up the nominee?

  12. StevePerkins says:

    Has Isakson declared? (pardon my ignorance if he has and I missed it)

    Other than Johnny, the only “serious” names I’ve heard are Handel and Cagle. I kinda doubt that Handel will run. Of course Cagle will run, what other point is there to being Lt. Gov. in the first place?

    However, if the next legislative session is anything like this one, I’d much rather being Oxendine harping from the sidelines than Cagle being stuck in the middle of the muck.

  13. drjay says:

    iirc–isakson has said he would announce any future plans after the november elections–be they running for reelection or guv or retiring or whatever–but the idea of him running for guv has been mentioned in places to numerous to mention and i don’t think i’m going out on a limb to say it is generally accepted that he is seriously considering it

  14. Icarus says:

    I still think you have to count Westmoreland as a serious contender, though I believe he has said he will not run against Isakson.

  15. StevePerkins says:

    Even if Isakson does declare, I still like Oxendine’s chances. Regardless of whether Isakson may be “conservative enough” for this or that pundit on political blogs… in the grand scheme of things he’s still lumped in with a Federal majority of Republicans that was almost as dysfunctional and against-the-base as the State majority is now.

    Oxendine’s main advantage is that he really isn’t involved with any of this dysfunction (does anybody have a problem with how the Insurance Commission runs?). Of course, by the time 2010 gets here, Isakson will be helped by the fact that he’ll have been out of power for four years. How pathetic of a situation are you in when four years of doing nothing at all will probably HELP your numbers?

  16. Icarus says:

    “(does anybody have a problem with how the Insurance Commission runs?). ” – Actually, yes. Ask anyone that’s actually in that business. Oxy has always wanted to climb, but it’s never been worth anyone’s while to take him on with his own negatives.

    “Of course, by the time 2010 gets here, Isakson will be helped by the fact that he’ll have been out of power for four years.” — ??? WTF are you talking about here?

  17. saltynuts says:

    People treat Johnny like he’s unbeatable.

    But if you were around in 1996, he was beaten in the GOP Primary because he was too liberal.

    And that was before the immigration fiasco.

    Oxendine may have had some foibles early in his political career, but they’re nothing compared to a failure to address tax relief and the monkey knife fight that the General Assembly has become.

    This is the first and last time I’ll ever say this, but I think Andre’s right about something. Oxendine looks like a mature adult compared to anyone doing time under the gold dome these days.

  18. StevePerkins says:

    Icarus, I know Isakson’s still in office. I just mean “out of power” in the sense that Republicans lost the Senate majority in 2006 (and aren’t going to win it back this year). The minority party in Congress can still pull their pork here and there, and filibuster on some extreme issues… but they’re effectively “out of power” in the grand scheme of things.

  19. Angie Montgomery says:

    I just read the Insider Advantage article. It sounds like Oxendine had some issues when he was first elected, but he has matured with the office. I think that is what the state seems to need. The name calling and posturing at the end of session seemed to be like elementary school – and it came from both the Senate and the House. I would like some of the tax breaks which were discussed this year. I think a previous governor of Virginia ran on eliminating the annual car tax and won.

  20. gaproud says:

    If Republicans want to stay in power in 2010, then you have to go with Oxendine. He has the statewide appeal that is needed after eight years of Sonny Days in Georgia. Finally, someone that hasn’t been part of the establishment for the past 20 years will be Gov.

  21. Icarus, I literally have asked a lot of people in that business and the vast majority of them are looking with a bit of fear and nervousness to the day Ox leaves office. The vast majority of the state’s 75,000 insurance agents love the Ox because he makes it a point to come out to them, answer their questions, have town halls on how his office can make registration easier, etc.

    Throw in his relationship with firefighters and the sheriffs in rural Georgia and he becomes an even stronger opponent. Personlly, I think he should run for the Senate if Isakson vacates, but I also know he’s wanted to be governor, according to his dad, since he was young.

    Ox has done wonders as Insurance Commissioner and would go a great job as Governor.

  22. GOP_Realist says:

    Oxendine was the first to announce for the ’04 LtGov election way in advance and he lost his balls then… he’ll lose them again… he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell getting elected Gov if Isakson runs… Isakson could wait nearly two years to announce if he wants and he’ll still beat Oxendine… Oxendine couldn’t beat Westmoreland, Kingston, Handel, Keen, or even “Eddie Haskell” Cagle (I got to give it to that AJC lib Mike King, he nailed Cagle perfectly with that nickname), he might be able to beat Richardson, but even that’s doubtful… he’s not nearly as popular as he thinks he is, he’s always been a delusional wannabe….

  23. Brian from Ellijay says:

    I would have to go with Johnny, and this is coming from a guy who supported Herman Cain in 2004 because I thought Isakson was too liberal.

    Conservatives support Johnny…now

  24. Brian from Ellijay says:

    I would have to go with Johnny, and this is coming from a guy who supported Herman Cain in 2004 because I thought Isakson was too liberal.

  25. Rpolitic says:

    Wow what a myopic view of the names in play. How about Westmoreland, certainly no Sonny clone. Maybe Gingrey another conseravtive who might find the mansion a nice place to be. Those are just for starters, I think there also will some room for a business leader to get in the race and they maybe tempted given the mess that is being left behind.

    As for Casey, folks there is a reason he could not win a cuacus election when it counted, and the Senators have seen the mistake they made in changing the rules for Casey after carrying him through the election. Casey is loooking at real problems as we move forward. He has shown that he is bereft of ideas, and void of leadership.

  26. moocher says:


    I agree with you 100%. Anyone who takes Oxendine seriously on this “candidacy” has got a very short memory.


    “Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is jumping into the 2010 governor’s race, getting a head start on what could be a healthy field of big-name Republicans hoping to replace Sonny Perdue.”

    This is exactly what he did when running for Lt. Governor. He tried to get a head start and then wet his pants when Ralph Reed got in the race. If he was too afraid to run against Reed for Lt. Governor then why should we believe he won’t flinch when running against the big dogs for Governor?

  27. jsm says:

    Two positives that I have seen in Ox:
    1) He’s accessible. He comes and speaks in Hall County fairly regularly.
    2) His office is the only one in state govt to stay open until 7pm, so that folks can access it after work.

    His negatives:
    1) He does not come across as a leader.
    2) His high-pitched voice and his overly-friendly mannerisms make him come off as a nerd. He’s clearly very impressed with himself and uses cliches that aren’t funny. He’s probably much cooler online.

  28. Forsyth Mom says:

    I am personally excited about the “OX” running for Governor. He has experience with running a state wide government agency and balancing a budget. Town Hall meetings and personally speaking with constitutes even when he is not actively campaigning does not seem to strike fear into him!

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