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Political notebook: Linder endorses Deal for governor

U.S. Rep. John Linder has endorsed a fellow congressman in the 2010 race for governor.

Linder, a Republican from Duluth, gave his support to U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, who joined the GOP primary race to replace Sonny Perdue earlier this month.

Deal, he said, has been an ally in his fight for tax reform.

"When we began to line up supporters for the FairTax, Nathan was right there and has never backed away from his commitment to real tax reform," Linder said in a press release.

Also endorsing the Gainesville congressman were Reps. Phil Gingrey, Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland and Paul Broun. While Linder's district includes much of Gwinnett, Broun's includes the Braselton area.

"If Nathan takes a stand, I've learned that he's not going to back down or back away from it," Broun said. "I believe Georgia needs Nathan Deal as it's next governor."

Deal, the former president pro tempore of the Georgia State Senate, will face Secretary of State Karen Handel, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, state Sen. Eric Johnson and state Rep. Austin Scott in the primary next year.

An independent poll released last week showed Oxendine had become the front-runner since Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle dropped out of the race. Oxendine, who lives in Duluth, came in with 21.3 percent, twice as high as Deal's 10.5 percent support. However, 49.9 percent of poll respondents said they were undecided.

"It is very humbling to see these numbers and I appreciate the vote of confidence from my fellow Georgians," Oxendine said in a press release. "It strengthens my resolve to campaign twice as hard and take absolutely nothing for granted. I look forward to talking to Georgians about The Contract with Georgia in the days and weeks ahead."

Running in the Democratic primary are Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Gen. David Poythress and state Rep. DuBose Porter. Former Gov. Roy Barnes is considering entering the race.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.