Greg Bluestein and Katie Leslie bring the news that Sam Williams (and parsing his quote – he uses the words “We urge…” – apparently the Metro Chamber of Commerce) has endorsed both Nathan Deal and Kasim Reed for re-election.
We urge everyone here, we in the business community, that these two gentlemen deserve a second term because of all the great things they’ve accomplished in their first term together,” said Williams.
The move raised plenty of eyebrows. While the chamber’s members typically lean Republican, the organization doesn’t often weigh in on competitive races. One well-known exception is the chamber’s involvement in Atlanta Public School board’s elections in the 1990s.
The endorsement isn’t likely to make much of a difference to Reed, who faces no high-profile competition in his November re-election bid. But it could prove important for Deal, who already faces a challenge from Dalton Mayor David Pennington and a possible push by Superintendent John Barge.
Normally, it’s not terribly big news that Chamber members endorse incumbents which they have enjoyed a productive working relationship with. But looking at the last paragraph quoted above, perhaps a bit of amplification is in order.
Dalton Mayor David Pennington is running against Deal on a platform that the economy isn’t working in Georgia, and that we can and should be doing better. The Metro-Chamber – covering the business community for a bit more than half the state’s population – seems to think otherwise.
And after getting Reed safely past his non-event of a re-election, the Metro-Chamber can and will likely use the Deal-Reed alliance to highlight the logistics corridor that stretches from Atlanta’s airport, down I-75 and I-16, and to the Port of Savannah which will likely be being dredged at that time – largely on the federal taxpayers dime. Credit, of course, will be shared between these two, but Deal will be the beneficiary of the “jobs” mantra in that corridor, picking up support of another large swath of Georgia’s population.
Dalton, home to a carpet and textile industry that has yet to recover from the 2008 crash, certainly has a case to be made that unemployment is stubbornly high. But as the 2014 election moves into high gear, those from that part of the state may find it a lonely place to be as they look for those willing to help them make that case .