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Gov. Deal says he supports Romney

JEKYLL ISLAND (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal said Sunday he's supporting Mitt Romney for president now that the former Massachusetts governor has a lock on the Republican nomination.

"I have talked to Gov. Romney and certainly I will support his candidacy," Deal told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday. "He obviously is going to be the nominee of the party and I'll certainly support him in that capacity."

Deal was asked about Romney after the Georgia governor attended the opening of Jekyll Island's new $30 million convention center. Deal had just spoken Saturday at the state GOP convention in Columbus, but his remarks there steered clear of presidential politics.

Deal didn't automatically endorse Romney after Newt Gingrich officially dropped out of the race May 2. The governor had been a staunch supporter of the former House speaker, with whom he served in Congress. Gingrich easily carried Georgia's Super Tuesday primary in March, and Deal stood by him even as Gingrich saw his support wane.

Romney endorsed Deal's fall 2010 gubernatorial bid after backing Deal's opponent in the Republican primary, Karen Handel.

Still, Deal didn't hesitate to respond Sunday when asked if he was supporting Romney and said he's confident Georgia voters will end up backing him too.

"Certainly I don't think the state of Georgia is going to have much doubt that they support a conservative in the White House, and Gov. Romney will be the one that they choose," Deal said. "He's conservative enough for me."