Is Roy Barnes considering voting for a Republican?

ATLANTA – A day after Roy Barnes indicated he would consider voting for a Republican for U.S. Senate, his campaign backed off the former governor’s statement, according to published reports.

During a Sunday Atlanta Press Club debate, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate indicated he might support U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican, over Democrat Michael Thurmond and Libertarian Chuck Donovan.

“I haven’t made up my mind in that race yet,” The Associated Press quoted Barnes as saying during the debate.

On Monday, the Barnes campaign sought to allay any fears. “Roy is going to support the ticket, and will be voting for Michael Thurmond tomorrow,” quoted Emil Runge, a Barnes spokesman, as saying.

The hotly contested gubernatorial race could be heading to a runoff. According to Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., Deal leads Barnes 47 percent to 40 percent – less than the 50 percent plus one threshold required to avoid a runoff. Libertarian John Monds is polling at 6 percent; 7 percent of voters said they were undecided.

“A runoff is less likely because Deal’s numbers have perked up. Some (undecided voters) just may not vote or not vote for either of them,” The Gainesville Times quoted University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock as saying. “If they decide not to express a vote, the 47 percent could become the majority.”

The same poll – conducted on behalf of the Georgia Newspaper Partnership – also indicates that the Attorney General race might not be decided on Tuesday. Republican Sam Olens leads Democrat Ken Hodges 46 percent to 34 percent; Libertarian Don Smart is polling at 4 percent, and 16 percent of voters said they were undecided.

Lastly, in the School Superintendent race, Republican John Barge is leading Democrat Joe Martin 39 percent to 29 percent; Libertarian Kira Willis is pulling 5 percent of the race, and 27 percent of voters say they are undecided.

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