The Republican frontrunner in Georgia’s gubernatorial race is learning the hard way that it’s not good idea to spill your heart to a former rival.
On Monday, secretly recorded audio was released of Lt. Gov Casey Cagle dismissively describing his state’s wild five-man primary as a contest between “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck and who could be the craziest.”
This is the second snippet of covertly recorded audio from a conversation between Cagle and his onetime primary rival Clay Tippins.
In the first segment, which was leaked to the media in June by Tippins himself, Cagle admitted to supporting an education bill that he described as bad in “a thousand different ways” in order to damage another primary candidate.
The latest 50-second clip was put out by Cagle’s opponent in the runoff, far-right Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
The tapes threaten to upend a very tight race between Kemp and Cagle ahead of the July 24 runoff election. A recent Cygnal poll of likely Republican runoff voters had Cagle ahead by only one point, 44 percent to Kemp’s 43 percent.
Kemp, who released primary ads in which he pointed a gun at a teenager courting his daughter and pledged to hunt down “criminal illegals” in his “big truck,” is running to Cagle’s right. The tapes are perfect fodder for his message that Cagle is not a true conservative in the Trumpian mold.
“Like Hillary Clinton, Cagle thinks the electorate is a basket of deplorables who lack the intelligence and attention span to comprehend all of the high-level policy proposals that he’s saving for the General Election,” Kemp wrote in one of several Monday tweets about the new recording.
The Cagle campaign did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment, and did not release a public statement. But the lieutenant governor is pushing his conservative bona fides on social media, tweeting out a link to a trio of upcoming rallies with incoming NRA President Ollie North. The linked press release informs voters that Cagle is the only gubernatorial candidate endorsed by the NRA, and warns that “radical liberals are coming for your guns.”
The runoff victor will face off against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in the fall.