ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The Georgia gubernatorial campaign has been one of the dirtiest in the history of the state. Nathan Deal and Roy Barnes and their backers have spent a small fortune telling you how terrible the other politician is.
The television ads seem to be endless. For months the ads ripped into both Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal. Questions of ethics and judgement, and ability to govern. Former Governor Roy Barnes says all elections are tough, but admits this battle royale has been over the top.
"It's been a tough race, because it's unprecedented in the state of Georgia. Perhaps in the country, that you have had an outside group that's come in and spent six to seven million dollars. All negative," Barnes said.
The 62-year-old Barnes said the Republican Governor's Association may end up spending eight million dollars before the day is out, mostly on television ads attacking Barnes. He charges the big money against him is trying to cover up Republican scandals.
"They are pumping it in, because they know that I will not allow the ethical shenanigans that are going on," Barnes said.
Of course Barnes and his supporters have been just as negative against Deal in their campaign, charging him with using state contracts to enrich himself. And Barnes says if elected he is not forgetting those charges, but will make it one of his first agenda items.
"To make sure we put in ethics rules that prohibit you from doing business with the state of Georgia if you are an elected official."
A rough campaign, that Barnes say he hopes ends tonight.
Barnes is saying this race is much rougher than 2002, when Sonny Perdue kept using a rat to symbolize him.
Roy Barnes says elections are tough anytime, but he definitely is battling momentum running as the Democratic nominee for Governor. "It's tough being a Democrat, but I'm proud to be a Democrat."
Republicans are leading in the polls in almost every statewide office race, including Governor. Barnes knows he is the underdog, but points out pollsters have never got it right in his previous runs for Governor.
"Let me tell you about polling. In 1998 the public polls were about where they are right now. And I won by ten points. In 2002 the last public poll was taken said I was going to win by 12, and I lost by 3. My confidence in polling is not very great," Barnes said.
Barnes toured the state Monday, and took the rest of the afternoon off. "Then I'll probably go out to the farm, to catch up out at the farm for a while before the voter returns start."
A little peace? "Yes, a little peace."
The race is expected to be close, and could possibly end in a run off. That would mean two more weeks of campaigning, that could get even nastier.
Many of Georgia voters say they are glad election night is finally here. They are tired of this lengthy, very negative gubernatorial campaign. Roy Barnes told me he agrees, saying this campaign is historic. Saying it surely has be the dirtiest, most negative ever.