In 2010, Robert Bentley defied the polls and surprised political analysts by winning the Republican nomination for governor in Alabama, triumphing over several better known and better financed candidates. Bentley would go on to become governor.
On Wednesday, Dalton Mayor David Pennington announced that the man who guided Bentley’s primary campaign, David Ferguson, has joined his own drive for Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial nomination as campaign manager.
“We are excited to have David Ferguson serving as the campaign manager. His experience in working with candidates across the Southeast and his success managing Gov. Robert Bentley’s election are indications that he has the skill set to help us spread our message of ethical reform, economic growth and more efficient government,” Pennington said in a press release.
An Alabama native and graduate of the University of Alabama, Ferguson most recently served as executive director of Maryland’s Republican Party.
“This campaign is going to be a tough fight, and we will have to earn every vote,” Ferguson said in a statement. “David Pennington is the right man with the best ideas to help bring Georgia’s economy back from the brink of disaster. It is unacceptable that Georgians have the most corruption of any government in America and the highest unemployment of any state in the Southeast. Like the voters who have already joined our team, we hope to see a change in the governor’s office in 2014.”
Pennington has said he will challenge incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican primary. State School Superintendent John Barge has also said he will seek the Republican nomination.
Ken Ellinger, an associate professor of political science at Dalton State College, said Ferguson’s hire shows how serious Pennington’s campaign is.
“Every candidate says he’s going to campaign to win, to mount a vigorous campaign. But who you hire and who you surround yourself with shows just how serious you are,” Ellinger said. “Bringing on somebody like this shows his (Pennington’s) level of commitment.”