Barge To Enter The Governor’s Primary?

Greg Bluestein writes for the AJC’s Political Insider that Governor Deal may have a second primary challenger on his hand.  State School Superintendent John Barge is playing coy to rumors that he may also enter the race:

While I do not know yet exactly where I will be doing this work beyond 2014, I do plan on it being at a statewide level in some capacity,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

Barge’s future has been an open question since his campaign reported no contributions over the last six months. His testy relationship with Deal is less of a mystery.

Their biggest fight revolves around Barge’s opposition to the ballot measure that gave the state new powers to create charter schools. Deal and most of the state’s Republican establishment supported the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved.

So….Let’s just let our commenting community have the first shot at this one.  Thoughts?


      • Of course. Education is the foremost issue facing this country right now, and Gov. Deal is ill-equipped to handle Georgia’s failing school system. John Barge knows what the state superintendent’s office needs to succeed, and unfortunately Gov. Deal’s administration isn’t willing to work with him. Long-term economic growth is solely dependent upon the success of our educational system. While I can’t put words in his mouth or make promises for him, I could see John Barge bringing Georgia out of the bottom 20 percent in public education if Georgians put him in the governor’s mansion. Gov. Deal simply doesn’t have that as a priority right now, and that will cost Georgians in the long run.

        • Noway says:

          I appreciate your passion for believing Barge, because of his education background, can bring us out of the bottom fifth, but no governor in the last 50 years has been able to do that and not all of them have been morons. I have my doubts of anybody doing it.

          • Lea Thrace says:

            What do you think will do it? Cause I agree, it’s definitely not been a democrat or republican problem.

            • Noway says:

              Don’t know, Lea. Maybe sending a GA delegation to whomever is the top in the nation, ask what they do and replicate it to the letter? Maybe our kids simply aren’t as capable as others in the country. Hate to suggest that, but after no improvement in five decades, you have to think that may be the cause.

  1. Jon Lester says:

    It’ll be a hard sell persuading me to vote for any school administrator in an executive branch race, and I doubt if I’m alone in my thinking.

  2. ricstewart says:

    What’s the word on the street/interwebs about who’s running for Superintendent next year?

  3. cheapseats says:

    I’m not surprised. Along with the idea that public education has been taking quite a beating and the Guv hasn’t helped at all, there are some strong negatives about Deal’s appointments to head up state agencies. A lot of folks who don’t necessarily agree on everything and who probably don’t even cross paths in any other way have felt the problems from Deal’s cronyism.

  4. South Fulton Guy says:

    Is Secretary of State Brian Kemp another potential primary challenger or will he wait until after Deal’s second term?

  5. newby says:

    Supported Dr. Barge in the last election but will never do so again. Not for State School Superintendent nor for Governor.

  6. Herb says:

    The only good thing Barge ever did was to oppose those Republican re-education camps(Charter Schools). Other than that, he’s useless. It’s a shame to me, a loyal Liberal Democrat, how far the Republicans have fallen. What was once the party of Mack Mattingly, Paul Coverdell, and John Oxendine has now become the party of fools like Squeal, Penny, and little john.

    • Lea Thrace says:

      ” and John Oxendine ”

      And that’s how we know you’re a troll. Anyone who holds up that guy as anything close to a paragon of virtue has some political issues to work through.

      And I am insulted for Paul Coverdell’s memory to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Ox.

      • Herb says:

        Oxendine versus…Sonny? Casey? Mark Butler? Sammy Olens? Paul Broun? Phil Gingrey? Yeah, I’ll take Ox over them easily. Ox was at least concerned about representing the people through the office of Insurance Commissioner, and not on pandering to the extremes. As a Democrat, he and Brian Kemp are the only Republicans I ever voted for statewide.

        • Herb says:

          Though I couldn’t vote for Ox in 2006. His proud support of the Iraq War did not sit well with me at all, and I liked Guy Drexinger.

        • seekingtounderstand says:

          When you called the Insurance Commissioner under Oxendine, you got help.
          When you call now they are snarky and don’t care.
          Georgias government no longer protects the people, but acts a funnel to the pockets of a few.
          God help us when the new health care law happens.

          • Bull Moose says:

            That’s a very true statement. When you called the Insurance Commissioner’s office under Ox – you did get help and they generally even followed up to make sure that you were satisfied. Now, it’s more or less a bureaucratic nightmare of an agency with no customer service and no respect for citizens…

    • Noway says:

      Other than calling them “re-education camps” what’s your beef with the concept of charter schools?

      • John Konop says:


        I support the concept, but they way the current bill functions it is ripe for abuse of tax payer money.

        1) It makes no sense a private company can make money off the real estate of a charter school, and not be forced to pay tax payers back on any grants……if the school goes out of business……This is the same type of government lending, funding…….that got us into to trouble the last time……

        2) It seems irrational to not make the schools coordinate with local districts that have already invested capital expenditures into growth…..The investment would of been made on projections years ago… if you take the students out of the system based on an investment made years ago any business person would see the short full issue in the budget….. Not a smart idea……the facilities need to be coordinated in the local district to make sure we are not left holding the bag…..

        3) When you combine the ability for the state to grant long term leases, with government backed money for the charter schools, combined with private ownership of property this is a nightmare via conflict on interest…..

        4) The schools do not even have to put up bonds to make sure they make it through the school year…..So what happens when they dumped the students back into the system if they go out of business mid year? BTW Florida has a 25 percent failure rate……

  7. Bull Moose says:

    A view from the cheap seats…

    Nathan Deal was one of the country’s most corrupt Members of Congress who resigned from office to avoid an embarrassing investigation. Through his secret contract with the state, he became a millionaire. You should all know this – it was the main argument against Deal in the 2010 primary…

    He then used crafty lawyers to defend using his campaign money to pay for his hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees – and got away with it all…

    As Governor, he has appointed his cronies to various positions of authority throughout the state despite the fact they have no qualifications or experience in the various areas of their appointment.

    On top of that, GA has cut education funding to the point of being irresponsible for our continued growth and prosperity.

    When the state starts going to hell – which it will on this current trajectory – it will have started with Sonny Perdue’s steady as she goes Governorship, but really gone down hill with the Governor who knows nothing better than to appoint all his cronies to some of the state’s more important positions.

    Georgia can do better than this and deserves a better Governor that will allow a continued bright future for our state.

    • Jas says:

      Yeah, because in the history of Georgia politics, appointing cronies began with the electing of republican governors.

    • cheapseats says:

      Yep, the view from the “cheap seats” is my view, too. Thanks Bull Moose!
      Cronyism didn’t start with Deal or with the Republicans but it was one of the reasons the Dems got kicked to the curb. There’s a lesson there for any who are willing to learn.
      I deal with a bunch of state agencies in my professional and personal life. None have improved – almost all have taken a nose dive. Not all are headed by Deal’s appointees, of course. The electorate is to blame for Kemp and Olens.
      But, the DOR, DNR, state climatology, and a few others that have gotten remarkably worse are Deal’s crony appointments. I know I’m not alone because my clients (about 99% solid Republican voters) all tell the same story.

  8. Noway says:

    Barge is having delusions of grandeur. He isn’t halfway through his current job and he’s already having visions of the Guv’s mansion? He’s gonna Denise Majette himself if he isn’t careful. Show us some results of moving our kids from the bottom to at least the middle before you think you’ve even got a prayer of the top job.

  9. Personally, I’m leaning towards supporting Pennington. I realize his chances are slim, but I think he’s the smaller government option of the two. (potentially three?)

  10. Baker says:

    This is NOTHING. I don’t know why he wouldn’t say what he was doing, but he damn sure ain’t running for governor. Unless he has a billionaire friend who really wants him there.

    This is a Galloway/ Twitter/ Blogger drama trap that is based in zero reality for people to chatter away about while Nathan Deal sells his landfill or whatever the heck it is, Tom Graves to get further away from his bank loans, and Kasim Reed to continue to tell people the Falcons are getting $200 MILL (which is totally false).

    Don’t fall for the petty high school election drama junk, demand answers from the people who are in office NOW.

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