Casey Cagle won't seek a higher office in 2010, the lieutenant governor said Wednesday.
Cagle, a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor, dropped out of the race because of a degenerative spinal condition that has left him with back pains. He said he will instead seek re-election for the state's No. 2 position.
"I feel a deep obligation to Georgia's future, while I also have a strong sense of duty to my family," Cagle said in a statement. "I want to serve the citizens of our state, but I also need to stay healthy so I can provide for my wife and three sons, the oldest one of whom just began his college education. Georgia needs a strong governor, but Nita and my boys also need a dad who can provide for them well into the future."
Cagle's schedule will be adjusted to allow for medical appointments, but the Gainesville man said he expects to make a full recovery by the next legislative session and be able to campaign next year.
Officially remaining in the hunt to replace Gov. Sonny Perdue are Republicans Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and Secretary of State Karen Handel and Democrats Gen. David Poythress, Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Rep. Dubose Porter.
"I have always acknowledged that Casey Cagle and I share the same general, conservative philosophy and he was an honorable opponent. I wish Casey and his family the very best," Oxendine, who lives in Duluth, said in a statement. "I would consider it an honor to earn the support of my fellow Republicans who had initially chosen to support Casey Cagle. I am at their service to answer any questions they have about my race, and where I stand on the issues, and help move this party forward with a conservative nominee."
Handel also offered support to Cagle's family.
Cagle's decision also affects the lieutenant governor's race, where Sens. Eric Johnson and David Shafer, who is from Duluth, have been waging a battle for the GOP spot. There was no word Wednesday on whether the men will continue to seek the job.
Thompson hosts forum
Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Norcross, is asking citizens for their advice.
Thompson is hosting a forum at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Cafe Maum, which is located in the Global Forum shopping center on Buford Highway in Doraville. His Citizen Advisory Forum organizes community projects focused on establishing or restarting neighborhood and homeowner associations.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.