What Will Dalton Mayor David Pennington Do?

So, Al Gray has this going on this evening in Columbia County:

Good morning everyone!

When I read that Mayor Pennington was considering a run for Governor in the Republican Party primary in 2014, I wanted to know more about him. On Wednesday April 17 we have reserved the Columbia County Government Complex Auditorium (In Building A, where the county commission meets) from 6:30PM -until ? for a meet-and-greet session with David Pennington. I look forward to meeting the mayor and I hope folks like me who want change in Atlanta will come and greet him, as he considers the brave challenge of taking on the incumbent.

The government complex is at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans.

If you can come and lend direction to David’s quest, please do so. Bring a friend along, too.

Georgia is in troubled times and needs a pretty radical change in direction, starting in the Governor’s mansion.

I look forward to seeing you this evening.

Dalton’s Mayor David Pennington has been kinda coy in his flirtation with challenging Governor Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary.  But he kinda hasn’t.  He has some harsh words for the governor and the state legislature when it comes to economic growth and tax reform.  Things that our Party has promised to deal with for the past number of election cycles, but we seem to lose sight of once we win.  I believe a lot of Republicans probably would be in agreement.  Tax reform has percolated a few times in the past few legislative sessions, but never really took off.  If you’re an elected official reading this right now, grassroots Republicans aren’t thrilled with the lackluster performance of the General Assembly for the past few sessions.

I’ve been hearing he’s doing the TEA Party circuit in the state, and he’s being very well received by those in attendance.  A friend close to Mayor Pennington has told me that people shouldn’t underestimate the good mayor.  He has accomplished a lot during his tenure as mayor for the past 2 terms, especially during the toughest time for the carpet industry, than any mayor of Dalton in the past 40 years.  He has the conservative chops.  He’s been able make difficult budgets work and streamline the government workforce in Dalton.

Now, here’s the cold, hard truth:  it’s difficult to beat an incumbent.  It’s not impossible (see Perdue, Sonny circa 2002), but it is certainly difficult.  Governor Deal will have, if he doesn’t already, a sizable war chest.  Governor Deal also hasn’t been a terrible governor like some may have predicted, but his administration hasn’t been one to write home about.  Again, that’s the sentiment of some grassroots Republicans that I talk to.  I’m sure Mayor Pennington is being backed by a lot of the carpet industry in the Dalton area and is probably being fed the “YOU CAN WIN!!! HIRE ME AND YOU’LL WIN!!!!” line by political consultants looking for a meal ticket (no offense to my political consultant friends out there).

Is Mayor Pennington running for Governor of the great state of Georgia?  Well, as my dad has said before, if he isn’t, he sure is missing a good chance.  He’s making the rounds, talking the talk, and walking the walk.  I wouldn’t be surprised that he makes an announcement in the coming weeks or months.  On the other hand, he could be doing this just to keep Governor Deal on his toes and decline a run in 2014.  My gut feeling?  I suspect we’ll have a primary race for governor in 2014.


  1. eddiep says:

    Good analysis, until you cross verbal swords with the Mayor in public or been a spectator to such event you can’t really appreciate your friend suggesting “that people shouldn’t underestimate the good mayor.”

  2. Al Gray says:

    Mayor Pennington came to Evans last night and gave an excellent talk on the state of Georgia’s governance. He has a very clear message of reform and very articulately delivers it. As Nathan put it, there seems to be a very good chance that David Pennington primaries Governor Deal.

    The Central Savannah River region of Georgia should be receptive ground for a challenger, having gone decisively for Karen Handel in that 2010 run-off, with some counties going 2:1 against Deal. Staunchly Republican Columbia County not only rejected him in the GOP primary then, it since soundly nixed TSPLOST against the entreaties of the governor and his cadre of county officeholders.

    Going against an incumbent GOP governor is another ball game but Pennington could prove a tough adversary if he gets a moderate amount of funding.

    One has to wonder why a challenger would take on the task of restoring Georgia’s finances after the gutting that tax revenues have taken over the last dozen years or so.

    Thanks for coming, David Pennington and we hope that you received some spirit of guidance as you ponder taking on a race for governor.

Comments are closed.