Pennington makes GOP challenge to Deal in governor's race official

David Pennington

David Pennington

After months of campaigning and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign coffers, Dalton Mayor David Pennington made a formal announcement about entering the governor’s race Monday, taking on Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican primary.

Pennington announced his decision in a video message, playing up his Guardian of Ethics Award, his experience as a small businessman and his work in Dalton to cut property taxes by 28 percent while donating his mayor’s salary to fund scholarships.

“Our next governor needs to be someone people can trust, not someone who is in the world’s newspapers with personal ethics problems,” Pennington said in the video. “Our next governor needs to be someone who spent his lifetime creating jobs, not playing politics in Washington. Our next governor needs to be a real conservative — not just in words, but in deeds.”

Pennington beat Deal in a straw poll at the Georgia Republican Assembly, one of the most conservative groups in the state, and he tied the incumbent in a straw poll in last weekend’s GOP committee gathering in West Georgia.

State Schools Superintendent John Barge has also announced a Republican challenge to Deal in next year’s primary.

Last week, state Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter, joined the race as a Democrat.