Eric Johnson Making A Late Move?

With less than two weeks to go in this marathon of a Governor’s primary, Eric Johnson has a few things he would like you to focus on rather than his lock on 4th place in the polls.

He’s been endorsed today by the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune, (which are running the same editorial, and thus I will assume the Tribune is also owned by Marietta publisher Otis Brumby).

Johnson is also touting the new addition of Jim Lientz to his campaign, adding one more high level backer of current Governor Perdue into Johnson’s camp.

While Johnson has yet to show significant upward momentum in the polls, we’ve also been preaching ’round here that the final 3 weeks of the campaign would be what mattered. With most polls still showing 40% +/- undecided, there’s plenty of room for any of the candidates with an active ground game and media presence to make a move.

The battle now is whether or not those undecided voters decide, or decide not to vote. We’ll know in less than two weeks.

Jim Lientz press release below the jump.

ATLANTA- Senator Eric Johnson, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced that Jim Lientz has joined his campaign as co-chairman. Lientz retired as Chief Operating Officer of the State of Georgia, a position he had held since January of 2003, on June 30th.
“After working closely with Governor Perdue for 7 ½ years, I know how difficult the challenges the next Governor will face are going to be,” said Lientz. “Eric has the combined experience in the private and public sectors that we’re going to need in our next Governor. As a successful businessman, he understands what the private sector needs to grow and create jobs and as a legislative leader he knows how to get it done.”

Lientz previously served as President of Bank of America’s Mid-South Division and Chairman of the TriVeritas Group. In 2000, he chaired the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and in 1998 he served as Chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He became Georgia’s first Chief Operating Officer in 2003 and was responsible for working with the majority of state agencies, boards, and commissions to accomplish Governor Perdue’s goals.

“I am proud to welcome Jim to our team. His unique background as a well respected business leader and Chief Operating Officer of the state will provide invaluable insight and knowledge,” said Johnson. “He is one of the many community leaders I will be looking to for advice and counsel and I appreciate the trust he has placed in me and our campaign to put Georgia back to work.”

Lientz joins numerous other well-known Georgia leaders including campaign chairman Steve Green, Virgil Williams, Jamie Reynolds, Taz Anderson, Tom Bell, Sonny Deriso, Barbara Dooley, Jim Edenfield, Joe Rogers, Suzanne Sitherwood, Charles Tarbutton, and Ben Tarbutton who are supporting Eric Johnson for Governor.

76 comments

    • Memphis235 says:

      I just got of the phone with someone who receives Special Needs Scholarship money. She called Karen Handel’s hotline to ask where she stood on school choice and vouchers in Georgia. After getting no answer for a time she pushed a little harder. She was told “Karen believes that the state shouldn’t be going around handing people $5,000 checks and taking money from other school kids who are trying to get an education.” “She does not support vouchers, only under certain special circumstances.”

      If this is true people need to know. My friend was extremely upset. They count on these dollars to send their significantly Dyslexic, Dysgraphic, ADHD son to a school that meets his needs. The public system tore him apart. I have sent an e-mail asking for an answer to the same question through her campaign site and haven’t heard anything back. It would be a sad day to see Karen Handel eliminate any hope of school vouchers in GA.

  1. HollyJ says:

    I think a better title to this post would be “Johnson making somekind of a move”. Unless this is going to be the sneak attack of all times some of us are sorely disappointed in his campaign. We havent seen anything from him. He has the cash and I hope he is about to spend it all. If not we are going to see another Whitehead moment.

    • He has three TV ads and was the first GOP gubernatorial candidate on the air. He is EVERYWHERE. I saw him the other day at a parade in Cordele and from there he traveled halfway across the state to another event. He is doing more than almost every other GOP campaign for Governor.

        • It hasn’t been overwhelming since December, haha. I wasn’t sure where else I could go until I met EJ in March. I finally left the Deal campaign in June. I think the last time I said something good about Deal on Facebook/Twitter/Anywhere was in January. It was the atmosphere of corruption in the campaign (from the scandals) and the lack of communication between them and me that really finalized the switch. These people NEVER replied to my emails or attempts of communication, and I was a coalition chair on Team Deal!

          I actually have a candidate that I can stand by and support vocally and proudly. The biggest reason I support Eric Johnson is the school choice issue. No other candidate has addressed that as thoroughly as he has. But I will say this: if Handel or Chapman get the nomination, I will support them wholeheartedly. If any of the other candidates get the nomination, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

          • ZazaPachulia says:

            “The biggest reason I support Eric Johnson is the school choice issue.”

            So the reason you support “School Voucher” Johnson is because he’s the idiot who staked his name on that terrible idea (which he has since backed away from, trying to rebrand himself “Jobs” Johnson)?

            • It’s not a terrible idea. As a high school student in rural community, I wish I had a choice of where I attend. The fact is, he’s the only candidate who’s attempting to do something major to change the system. I respect that because it’s what we need. The two biggest races to me are the race for Governor and State Superintendent of Schools. I’m “on the inside,” if you will. I see what we need, and we need change. That’s why I support EJ for Governor and Richard Woods for State Superintendent of Schools.

              • ZazaPachulia says:

                The problem with vouchers (and this is all well-documented elsewhere on Peach Pundit and all over the stinking web) is that they only benefit a tiny sliver of successful, middle class students at struggling schools while failing to fix the struggling schools themselves.

                They benefit a tiny portion of students statewide at the expense of many thousands of others. We need education reform — badly. Vouchers are not a step in the right direction. Other conservative ideas — like charter schools and magnet schools — are much more innovative, potentially more successful and better conduits for broad scope reform.

                Johnson’s ardent support of vouchers is an outstanding reason to vote against him for governor. (if you need more reasons, check his personal financial disclosures and his track record while leading the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Committee on Ethics)

                • AlanR says:

                  I think it is morally wrong to hold someone like Kyle hostage to a failing school while we wait for the “broad scope reform” that never arrives.

                  Johnson’s at least in the fight and if nothing else, has invested his reputation in bringing about change.

                  Sorry things didn’t work out with the Deal Real campaign, Kyle.

                • Provocateur says:

                  At least EJ tried to promote something else other than just dumping more and more and more money into “education” without defining how it was supposed to be used. You may not like his idea, but he saw it as a way to help some of the students. You just seem to think ALL students can be helped and should be helped. That mentality is pure socialism when you appear to want equal outcomes of all students.

                  One thing I like about EJ is that he isn’t a “status quo” person. Maybe that’s why he’s an architect in that he likes to create new views of the same old glass, bricks, steel, and mortar that have been in used for 100 years. I think an architect’s mind is exactly what this state needs.

                  • ZazaPachulia says:

                    An architect’s mind is what the state needs?

                    Please… Just go ahead and drown me in cliche.

                    I don’t think that “all students can be helped and should be helped” and I don’t take kindly to be called a ‘socialist.’ Who are you Provocateur? Nathan Deal in disguise?

                    I’m against vouchers because it’s a dead end scheme that will do nothing to improve the overall quality of education in Georgia. True, vouchers may help some students, but they do so at a tremendous expense to others in greater need.

                    Every ‘good’ student with dedicated parents you take out of a struggling school harms that struggling school without addressing the root causes as to why the school itself is failing.

                    • Provocateur says:

                      No, I’m not Nathan Deal.

                      As far as the rest of your post goes, it is clear that it reflects the opinion of just another opinion-provider in a world in which everyone has one, and it doesn’t actually promote anything positive.

      • GOPwits says:

        Kyle – you’re a newbie, so I’ve refrained from commenting in response to you, but you really don’t know what you’re talking about… You don’t go from 8% to 25% without several million dollars worth of advertising. Johnson’s 1 million just won’t cut it. The best he’ll do is 12-15%.

        Additionally, Johnson’s own movements show what’s going on… He’s focusing in on SE GA to start positioning himself as the heir apparent to Jack Kingston if Jack choses to retire after this next term.

        Johnson grew up a lot in this race, hopefully he won’t forget the lessons…

        • I don’t trust polling. As I’ve said on other posts, a prime example is the Maine GOP Gubernatorial Primary. The one major poll taken just before the election (though there were others, just not as reliable, none showed LePage in first place) showed the person who one first place in 4th place, down by more than 10%. Paul LePage, the winner, ended up beating the 2nd place challenger with more than double the votes that challenger received. The other five candidates were shuffled around at the bottom. I think anything can happen and I’m willing to bet that the same thing will happen here. It’s going to be an EJ/Handel runoff.

  2. PoliticalOutsider says:

    Johnson seems to have gained some support as a result of the other candidates beating each other up. I wonder if that continues, will he be able to make the runoff, or is he going to have to take on one of the other 3 to get in.

  3. In The Arena says:

    “As an architect and civil engineer, I love to build things.”
    -EJ

    What school did Eric get his civil engineering degree from? Is he a licensed professional engineer in Georgia? If he does not have a degree in the field or a professional license, he should stick with calling himself an architect and not try to falsely portray himself as a civil engineer.

    • drjay says:

      in fairness, i believe he spent a signifigant part of is career in an engineering firm, even if his title and education make him an architect…

      • Ambernappe says:

        I did not find Eric Johnson’s name on the Georgia list of Civil Engineers. All professional licensees are on the Secretary of State website.

        • Lady Thinker says:

          Imagine that! Not on the SoS website and he forgot to disclose $300,000. Working for an engineering firm does not give one the right to refer to themselves as a civil engineer, just architect, if he is in fact an architect.

          • GOPwits says:

            I agree Lady Thinker – how do we know that he’s actually an architect? Are we just supposed to take his word on it? I’m surprised Nathan Deal hasn’t asked to see his diploma yet.

            • Provocateur says:

              You can be a civil engineer in this state and not be a licensed professional engineer.

    • GOPwits says:

      Very much agree with you. The last time I checked, he was not a civil engineer and to put himself forward as one is just plain out misleading to the voters of GA.

      Misleading voters – what do you expect though from a career politician?

  4. Bucky Plyler says:

    Jeff Chapman making a late move ? just last week….
    * Ray Boyd endorses him
    *Ga. Independent Voters endorse him
    * latest Insider Advantage poll has him 12 points out

    • Mayonnaise says:

      Chapman picked up some low-hanging fruit. He won’t make any further penetration without some serious money.

          • ZazaPachulia says:

            Chapman is making a move because the frontrunners are so collectively awful.

            Did anyone else read the Walter Jones editorial this week that profiled Handel (and Ox’s) serious ethical baggage?

            He could write a companion piece about Deal and Johnson’s baggage.

            Chapman looks good compared to those four, but then you realize he too is pro-vouchers, anti-Sunday sales and extremely out of touch on a host of issues.

  5. TalmadgeGhost says:

    I’ve been saying all along – there is no other GOP candidate that can hope to take on Roy Barnes, because the rest of them can’t energize the “hate Atlanta” crowd outside of the Metro area.

    Handel certainly won’t do it – she was a Fulton County Commissioner for goodness sakes.

    Deal has his issues, and historically politicians from North Georgia haven’t been nearly as hostile to the Metro Area as those from SOM (South of McDonough) – see J Frank Harris and Zell Miller.

    Heard Handel while flipping through the radio stations this morning on the “Regular Guys Show” – she came on right after one of the hosts made his argument that our President was a gay Muslim…

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      Ugh… Handel was on the ‘Regular Guys’?

      That’s reason enough to vote against her right there.

        • ZazaPachulia says:

          I wish someone would run for “Atlanta Morning Show D.J.”

          Between The Regular Guys (101.5 fm), The Bert Show (99.7fm), Mayhem in the A.M. (790am) Frank & Wanda (v103.3fm), we have some of the worst morning radio on the planet in the Atlanta area.

          With her Regular Guys appearances, Handel should now have the 14-year-old male voting demographic pretty much locked up.

              • Technocrat says:

                I remember when I was a 16 year old for Gov Carter he lost that one. Hopefully you will find this race a learning experience when EJ comes in 3rd at best.

                  • Thank you! I am willing to get to work for whoever the Republican nominee may be, with the exception of:
                    John Oxendine – Corruption, bad campaign staff
                    Ray McBerry – OK, I don’t want to say he’s gay or anything, but I have a feeling that if I worked for him that I might get a campaign cell phone or something…

                    I’ll work for any of the others, but my preferences are Eric Johnson, Karen Handel, or Jeff Chapman.

            • GOPwits says:

              When I was 16 I was a Democrat and thought… 16 year olds don’t know enough about anything to be expressing an opinion on politics… I came to my senses eventually – before I had to finally vote for real…

          • HowardRoark says:

            My alarm clock is on Mayhem in the AM and if I ever woke up to just one of our gubernatorial candidates voices on there, that would put me a very foul mood for the rest of the day.

  6. drjay says:

    EJ ended up in an odd situation, he was running for lt. until cagle’s back gave out. he had almost not run for reelection in 08 and certainly wasn’t going to run in 10, so the guv race was sort of thrust upon him and he decided to go for it. and while vouchers may not be the be all and end all, it’s at least an idea, i’m not sure why some of you find it so anathemic. he is a good man and was a great senator for savannah and a capable leader in the senate, this may not work out for him, but i’m proud of him for giving it a go and looing forward to casting my vote for him this month…

    • GOPwits says:

      He also made his company a lot of money while a State Senator with $1 million dollars in contracts that he failed to disclose. I’m not sure that you can say he was that good when he enriched himself so much while in office.

      Additionally, look at the high life he lead as the Senate Leader. Nascar races, football games, fancy dinners, etc… What was that?

      This guy needs to go the way of the old line corrupt politicians… retire…

      • Mayonnaise says:

        $900k in gross sales over 6 years is not a lot of money for a large architect firm. Give it a rest, you sound like a democrat.

        • Provocateur says:

          Apparently GOPwits has no idea of the concepts of Gross Revenue, Cost of Services, Gross Margin, Operating Expenses, Taxes, and then…at the very bottom…after all employees (architects, drafters, secretaries, phone operators, etc.) have been paid, and rent for office space or bank loan service payments have been paid…as the very bottom there will be Net Profit.

          GOP wits and Karen Handel both think $900K just gets paid directly to the bottom line and no work has to be produced. What a pair of ignorant fools.

          The more KH supporters talk and demonstrate their disdain for people who have to actually work for a living, the more my disgust for her and her ignorant supporters grows.

          • Ambernappe says:

            Disdain is nowhere in my feelings for people who work for a living. The primary feeling is that no matter how insignificant anyone feels that a job is, often, it sure gains respect if undone, resulting in the failure of the best and most elaborate of plans. Also, anyone who accepts pay for performing a job should perform it to the best of his/her ability. Most of my family members have worked for a living and become very successful through hard work.

            Karen Handel obviously has worked very hard for well-deserved success, and will continue to do so after her election.

  7. Progressive Dem says:

    I think Johnson finishes strong and he may knock Handel out of a runoff. Running from the legislature is the traditional path to the governors office. There will be a lot of courthouse and grassroots support for him. He also appeals to the business community. Of the top four candidates, he is the only one from south of Fulton County. He’s going to win a lot of counties.

  8. GG says:

    Has everyone forgotten that EJ shelled out more than $10K to liberal democrats in 2008. Most notably $4,600 to Alisha Thomas Morgan. $1000 to J. Craig Gordon – Democrat Savannah; $1000 to Margaret D. Kaiser – Democrat Atlanta; $1000 to Robert Bryant, Jr. – Democrat Garden City; $1000 to Pam Stephenson – Democrat Atlanta and $2300 to Lester Jackson Democrat Savannah. I have a feeling that a lot of his supporters are completely unaware that money donated to his Republican campaign ended up in the hands of so many liberal democrats and professed Obama supporters.

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