The Savannah Morning News has posted this editorial, noting their displeasure that a project that is often cited by members of both political parties as the most important economic development project in Georgia is possibly being used for leverage in the fight for control of the Senate:
Mr. Cagle has no legitimate reason to strip away the $104 million that the state has advanced for port deepening. It’s too important.
The state-owned port in Savannah helps support nearly 300,000 jobs statewide and contributes nearly $15 billion in income and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes. For any statewide politician to put personal ambition over the economic health of fellow Georgians isn’t just the height of selfishness. It’s political suicide. Anyone who suggested it couldn’t get elected dog catcher.
That said, Mr. Carter doesn’t have the reputation of telling fibs. When he says that Mr. Cagle told him last Thursday that we was going to need the lieutenant governor’s support to keep port deepening in the budget, he can’t be brushed off as a teller of tall tales.
Thus neither man should be branded a liar. Instead, chalk up this incident as fallout from increasing tension in the GOP-controlled Senate. It had stripped Mr. Cagle, a fellow Republican re-elected last November, of much of his power before the session started. It gave most of the control to an eight-member GOP caucus chaired by State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons.
Meanwhile, Jim Galloway is reporting that Uber-Social Conservative Pat Tippett has called for Cagle to resign, with a follow up slight hedge of “if true”:
”I have worked too hard, spent too much money, and hours away from my family to help Republicans get elected. This is not right and I am deeply hurt by the apparent actions of the Lt. Gov. If this is true I do call for his resignation.”
One of Casey Cagle’s most loyal bases is that of Social-Conservatives, particularly in South Georgia. Yet with South Georgian Tommie Williams increasingly becoming the face of the battle between the Senate Republicans and Cagle, the struggle becomes more delicate for both Cagle’s present, and his political future.
While I would posit that this battle still remains largely inside baseball, the threat of escalation into the grass roots should concern all parties, and any ability of Tippett and her Georgia Conservatives In Action group could harm Cagle in a future statewide primary. It would harm him significantly less so should he be campaigning in 2012 to be Georgia’s “Gentleman from the 14th”.