Georgia education chief challenging incumbent governor

ATLANTA — Georgia’s top teacher wants to take down incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

State School Superintendent John Barge on Wednesday officially launched his bid for governor. He will face Deal, himself a former educator, in next year’s Republican primary.

“Now a lot of people say I’m crazy. A lot of people said I was crazy to run for state schools superintendent too,” The Associated Press quoted Barge as saying during a Smyrna event to formally kick off his campaign. “But I have a passion not only for education but for this state.”

Barge, who was elected to his current post in 2010, is the second challenger to line up against Deal during next year’s primary. Dalton Mayor David Pennington is also mounting a challenge.

Deal was elected governor in 2010 following a heated campaign. He was previously a Congressman, but resign amid an ethics investigation.

Following Barge’s announcement, the Deal camp derided the challenger’s position and lack of specifics. “Unlike the superintendent, we’ll be able to provide specifics on what the governor has accomplished and what he wants to get done in the next four years,” The Associated Press quoted a spokesman as saying in a statement.

Meanwhile, former state Sen. Connie Stokes is the first candidate to jump into the Democratic primary, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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