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Hundreds join Deal for barbecue event on Lanier

Gov. Nathan Deal talks with supporters at his third annual 'Grillin with the Governor' event Saturday at Lake Lanier Islands' Grand Hall Pavilion. (Staff Photo: Tyler Estep)

Gov. Nathan Deal talks with supporters at his third annual 'Grillin with the Governor' event Saturday at Lake Lanier Islands' Grand Hall Pavilion. (Staff Photo: Tyler Estep)

BUFORD — Hundreds of supporters were in Buford on Saturday to share a plate of barbecue with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Deal hosted his third annual “Grillin’ with the Governor” event over lunch Saturday at Lake Lanier Islands’ Grand Hall Pavilion, participants paying $20 for food, a T-shirt and the opportunity to meet the state’s highest elected official. In between handshakes and photos with a long line of backers, Deal took a minute to explain the purpose of the day’s festivities.

“It’s just an opportunity to say thank you and get a little check with the public as to where they think we are in terms of the jobs we’re doing,” he said during a brief interview. “It’s a good opportunity.”

And?

“We’re getting very good feedback,” he said. “People are generally very pleased, I think.”

Deal, a native of nearby Gainesville, has a history with Lake Lanier, including the regional “water wars” and earlier this year signing the bill to lower the threshold for boating under the influence to a 0.08 blood-alcohol content. The latter was fueled by the deaths of a pair of Buford brothers after their family’s boat was hit by an alleged drunk boater.

The governor joked Saturday that having his event at the lake was boosting the state’s tourism.

“It’s certainly a beautiful place here,” he said.

City of Dalton Mayor David Pennington has announced his intentions of running against Deal in next year’s Republican primary. State schools Superintendent John Barge has hinted that he may do the same, saying that he would make a decision by early September.