Republican gubernatorial candidates debate in Canton - CBS46 News

Republican gubernatorial candidates debate in Canton, Deal is no-show

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CANTON, GA (CBS46) -

Republican candidates for governor in Georgia gathered Thursday night, along with candidates for other state offices, to debate election issues in advance of the May 20 primary. Governor Nathan Deal elected not to take part, citing the strength of his record as governor to this point.

"Debates should be for the purpose of figuring out where people stand on issues," said Deal. "I think where I stand on issues simply are reflected in my record, and I think it's a great record, and I'm going to run on my record."

"He's hoping that the Georgia Republican party will sleep through this primary," said gubernatorial candidate David Pennington. "But basically what I am, and my volunteers around Georgia are, is a wakeup call for Georgia Republicans."

Pennington, along with John Barge, are considered the two main challengers to Nathan Deal in the May primary election.

"The governor looks at the contest not being on May 20, that's a settled issue," said John Watson, the Chief of Staff under former governor Sonny Perdue. "The governor views November and the election against Jason Carter as the real competition into the fall. The governor is doing exactly what he should do (by not taking part in pre-primary debates). The two challengers have raised no money, and are marginal at best in terms of the vote they will get."

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