August 7, 2013

Pennington sees Barge as another political insider

From Staff and Wire Reports

— Georgia state schools Superintendent John Barge says he’s considering challenging Gov. Nathan Deal in next year’s Republican primary.

Barge, who’s in his first term as superintendent, said Tuesday that the possible campaign is one of many options he’s considering. He said he plans to make a final decision in the next few weeks.

The relationship between Deal and Barge has been noticeably chilly since the two were on opposite sides of the debate over a state charter schools amendment. The measure, opposed by Barge as unnecessary, ultimately passed.

A dispute between the two over who would oversee the state’s “Race to the Top” grants recently resurfaced as the federal government warned the state was in danger of losing $9.9 million out of $400 million over teacher evaluations and merit pay.

Dalton Mayor David Pennington has already said he will challenge Deal in the 2014 GOP primary. Pennington said if Barge does decide to enter the race it will not affect his candidacy.

“Anyone who wants to run for office should do that, but his base is not my base,” Pennington said. “My base is limited government conservatives and business people, people who want an outsider. We are talking about two insiders with John Barge and Nathan Deal.”