Gov. Nathan Deal will have at least one challenger in next year's gubernatorial race: Dalton Mayor David Pennington.
Pennington this morning announced that he has submitted the paperwork required to tee off against Deal as the state's GOP nominee in the governor's race.
"Today, I am taking the first steps in this race," Pennington said in a statement. "I look forward to growing my campaign, to making a formal announcement in the future, and to bringing real leadership to the Governor's office that will improve our economy, improve management of our budget, promote our values, and return Georgia to greatness."
His decision to mount a campaign was largely expected given that he's floated the idea over the past several months. Back in March, he said that Deal "has done nothing" for the state's economy and that a campaign of his own was "under consideration."
Pennington plans to adopt a pro-business platform that emphasizes job creation, lowering taxes - even eliminating income tax - and "common-sense" conservatism. The second-term mayor and insurance company founder has also said that he stands behind local education and ethics reform.
"We need ethical leadership that will focus on job creation, not scoring political points," his website reads. "We need a proven, job creating businessman to take the reins."
According to the Dalton Citizen, state law would require Pennington to eventually step down as mayor. He told the paper he plans on doing that closer to the qualifying date next April.
Although Pennington has previously claimed that he can partially finance part of his campaign, he'll need plenty of outside support to overtake Deal. The governor's latest financial disclosures reveal that he has $1.1 million cash on hand, including $613,000 that he's raised since the beginning of the year.
At the moment, Pennington and Deal are the only Republican candidates who have entered the 2014 gubernatorial race. No Democrat has declared candidacy at this time.
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