David Pennington’s “Major Announcement” Becomes Political Theater

Yesterday, David Pennington’s campaign issued a presser saying that he had a major announcement. We now know what that announcement was, and apparently there is a lot of intrigue. From the Political Insider over at the AJC:

One reporter asked the tea party candidate what, exactly, his major announcement was. Pennington said he would leave a formal invitation to Deal to attend the upcoming debates and urged the governor to pack it in if he didn’t.

It appeared to me mostly political theater and not much substance. No earth-shattering announcements or anything like that. Just a challenge to the governor to debate. Governor Nathan Deal will more than likely not participate in a debate, and that’s his choice.

Check out the rest of the story at the Political Insider blog to see how it unfolded.


You can read the full presser below the fold, but as the AJC article explained, it didn’t go so well for Pennington and the press conference was essentially hijacked by Randy Evans, the governor’s attorney.

Pennington Announces Ethics Reform Plan
Pennington also Compares Richard Nixon’s Watergate to Nathan Deal’s Copart

ATLANTA, GA – Conservative Republican for Governor David Pennington slammed Nathan Deal on ethics, taxes, education and the economy at a press conference directly outside of the Governor’s Office door. Pennington also challenged Deal to either debate these issues or drop out of the race and compared Deal to Richard Nixon in the following prepared statement:

“History has a way of repeating itself. Richard Nixon so poisoned the well for Republicans that the nation elected Jimmy Carter as President. Now 40 years later, Nathan Deal is so poisoning the well for Georgia Republicans that Jimmy Carter’s grandson could be Georgia’s next governor.

It was Nixon’s Watergate tapes that led to his demise and the rise of Jimmy Carter. Deal’s Copart files can lead to the rise of Jason Carter, if Georgia Republicans nominate Deal again.

If Georgia Republicans actually want to prevent another Carter disaster, we must have an ethical Conservative at the top of the ticket. We must have an ethical Conservative at the top of the ticket with a proven, conservative record to give the voters a clear choice against Jason Carter. We must have an ethical Conservative at the top of the ticket who is not only knows the issues but is also willing to debate the opponent anytime, anywhere. I am that ethical Conservative.

In the past months, Nathan Deal has dodged debates and Georgia Republicans’ calls to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Today, I am leaving this ‘formal invitation’ for Nathan, so he has every detail of the upcoming debates. This poster has all of the dates, times and locations of opportunities for Nathan to address the issues of the economy, taxes, ethics, education, 2nd Amendment rights, and others.

Although we are standing feet from the Governor’s Office door and although I am going to leave this invitation for Nathan, my guess is he lacks the courage and pride to discuss these issues with me in a public setting. Can we blame him?

Whereas Nathan has ‘led’ our state to see Georgia citizens’ incomes ranked down where they were in 1979, Georgia having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and the fourth highest long-term unemployment rate in the country, and Georgia producing one of the highest poverty rates in America – my record as a job creating businessman and Mayor and my strong belief that limited government works is polar opposite of Nathan’s big government, Washington approach.

Whereas Nathan has increased taxes on Georgians with the TAVT tax and the hospital bed tax and has said he thinks major tax reform must wait – my record as Mayor in cutting property taxes 6 straight years by a total of almost 30% and my desire to advance major tax reform on Day One, starting with an immediate state income tax cut from 6% to 4% is polar opposite of Nathan’s big government, Washington approach.

Whereas Nathan has said that it would be ill-advised to simply abolish the Common Core standards in Georgia – I would have no hesitation to do just that because I want parents, teachers, and local communities to have education control, not Washington and Atlanta government bureaucrats. Again, this is polar opposite of Nathan’s big government, Washington approach.

Whereas Nathan has failed to advance legislation that would truly protect and advance our 2nd Amendment rights – my fight will always be to protect and preserve liberty. My beliefs that liberty is not just a word, it is an ideal and the bedrock on which our country was created and that government is there to protect individual liberty and freedom is polar opposite of Nathan’s big government, Washington approach.

And, we can’t forget ethics. Whereas Nathan has had his hands in ethics controversies for much of the past decade and a Fulton County jury ruled that his abuse of power will now cost Georgia taxpayers at least $700,000 – I have received the Georgia Rotary’s Guardian of Ethics Award and led Dalton to being named a ‘City of Ethics.’

Whereas Nathan’s agencies are attempting to circumvent open records laws by charging $3.6 million to share files of his business sale to Copart – I believe public service is truly about serving the public, not advancing oneself. This is evidenced by donating my entire Mayor’s salary for scholarships at the local college and again is polar opposite of Nathan’s old time, good old boy politics. As Governor, I will continue to fund the scholarships I have funded through donating my Mayor’s salary by donating the same amount of my Governor’s salary.

Before closing the ethics discussion, I want to announce my ethics reform plan. The first part is to ensure that all state officials and lawmakers follow the same open meetings laws as local governments. It’s amazing how much better government performs when you let the sun shine in.
My plan also calls for a restructure of the ethics commission through constitutional amendments. I no longer want the fox controlling the hen house. The 5 member ethics board that would oversee the State Ethics Agency would be appointed by our state’s Judiciary.

I want to ensure our State Ethics Agency is properly funded, so we no longer have a 2-year back log of cases yet to be handled. We must have a mandatory funding mechanism that can only be changed through a constitutional amendment. I will continue to discuss my ethics reform plan at the upcoming debates.

Again, I demand Nathan to either finish his term, take the necessary time to handle his personal financial and ethical issues, and drop out of the race or discuss the issues that matter most to Georgians in a debate against me. The issues are there, Nathan. The debates are there, Nathan. If you have done nothing wrong, debate me. If you are proud of your record, debate me. If not, do Georgia Republicans a favor and walk away from the mess you have created.


  1. BryanLong says:

    David Pennington also called on Gov. Deal to release the records related to Copart. So, there’s that.

    “Forty years ago Richard Nixon so poisoned the well for Republicans we ended up electing Jimmy Carter,” Pennington said in a statement to be read at the press conference. “Now Nathan Deal has so poisoned the well that we don’t need to go on to elect Jason Carter.”


    Gov. Deal sold his auto salvage business — which was in debt by nearly $2 million — to a competitor that had been audited by the state Department of Revenue during Gov. Deal’s tenure. DOR assessed the governor’s competitor with a $74 million bill for back taxes and penalties.
    The company, Copart Inc., soon purchased the governor’s struggling business and continues to lease land from the governor. Gov. Deal has told reporters that he would not work to collect the back taxes from Copart even as he collects $20,000 each month from the company.

  2. Three Jack says:

    Pennington needs better advisors (does he currently rely on Debbie Dooley?). Frustrating that seemingly every challenger to an incumbent GOPer ends up looking like a fool when they let desperation become the driving force of their respective campaign.

    • Three Jack says:

      We do have that option, ‘none of the above’ is worded as ‘Libertarian’ on the ballot.

    • Charlie says:

      The problem with modern politics – and life, frankly – is that we’re all led to believe we can have it all.

      Life is about choices. Sometimes, the list of choices are narrow and sometimes we think all the options suck. That isn’t just politics. That is life.

      Being an adult in life is understanding that this is part of life. We don’t get everything we want all the time. Sometimes we have to share. Sometimes we have to let other people win. And most of the time, we have to make choices that are the best of what’s available rather than sit and dream of perfect options that never actually exist in reality.

      So….suck it up.

    • Will Durant says:

      And another one could learn that when your minor irritant of an opponent is making a fool out of himself, let him.

      • Ha totally but then again if you are Randy Evans and you are BFF’s and Consigliere to the Blunt family (Roy/Matt) who just happen to be on the board of Copart, that just happens to have a potential tax problem in Georgia…

        But hey – ignore all that, a magazine that no one has ever heard of said Georgia is a great place to do business.

        • John Konop says:


          Georgia does have some very strong advantages known around the country….1 is metro Atlanta is key player in the financial service industry….many of the key players are here….2 Georgia tech and Emory have contributed to Atlanta being a hub for technology…ie bio tech, information systems……3 the airport has made a major player in transportation…..combine this with a growing destination vacation, convention ie aquarium, pro sports ………and agriculture Georgia has a lot to offer….

          If we could get our arms around infrastructure needs and education Georgia would be near or at the top for business….

  3. ma63084 says:

    Looked like a fool…..this is one’s opinion… but that’s just it- NOW people (even yourself) are now talking about him. I wonder how many people even knew who he was as compared to now.. Sure, it may make him look desparate or foolish, but that’s really only your opinion (one who has an account on a political web-site, one who is VERY POLITICAL.. the rest of the public, who watches the news and dislikes Deal- will see his challenge and will say BRAVO! So he is now known, talked about.. driven and truly cares about this State.. I never said any of this is a good thing or move. I’m just saying, its like the celebrities try to say “any press is good press”

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