The campaign of embattled Georgia gubernatorial candidate Casey Cagle has taken further damage from the secret recordings made by his former Republican primary opponent, Clay Tippins. According to the newly revealed audio clip, Cagle says the May primary: “felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
What the recordings said:
The 50 second recording was released on Sound Cloud by the campaign of Cagle’s primary runoff opponent, Brian Kemp. The recording says:
“The issues you talk about are the issues I care about as well. The problem is in a primary – and you and I are just talking off the record frank – they don’t give a shit about those things. Ok. In the general election, they care about it. Ok. But they don’t care about it in a primary. This primary felt it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
Craziest like a fox
A month ago the Georgia political establishment was rocked by the initial release of secret recordings of a conversation between Casey Cagle and Clay Tippins. The recording was made in the days following Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary, which Cagle won, and Tippins had placed fourth in. The initial scandal from the recordings was Cagle’s admission that he had backed what he deemed to be “bad public policy” for short-term political advantage.
The fact that this recording was issued by Brian Kemp, who gained nationwide attention for his campaign commercials focusing on his pick-up truck and shotgun, at first seems an odd play. Although his strategy was effective, Kemp did sneak into second place in the election by using just what Cagle describes – attention-drawing unorthodox campaign advertisements that did not focus on issues.
But the latest revelation are a huge problem for Cagle because of what he is saying about Georgia Republican primary voters, specifically that they do not “give a shit” about issues. He is insulting voters from his own party and, what is possibly worse, echoing Hillary Clinton’s reference to Trump supporters belonging in a “basket of deplorables.”
The primary runoff takes place in the height of the Georgia summer on July 24th and turnout is expected to be very low. Those who do vote will be the most motivated, and those who are the most motivated tend to be the most likely to notice Cagle’s insult.
Who could be the sleaziest
While the sleaziness of the Georgia Republican runoff is probably not making either candidate look very good in the eyes of the wider Georgia electorate, it is undeniable that Cagle has a lot more to lose from the gutter-level campaigning in the short term. Besides the recordings giving voters the impression that he is a cynical political opportunist, he has also faced questions about a real estate deal with a Georgia lobbyist.
With both candidates reportedly being desperate to appear evoke the spirit of President Trump, the Kemp attacks on Cagle could ultimately backfire, however. Cagle can now boast of controversial real estate transactions and scandal-provoking secret recordings. What could be Trumpier?