Casey Cagle

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Casey Cagle is the Republican Lieutenant Governor-Elect of Georgia. The otherwise unremarkable Cagle defeated Democrat Jim Martin in the 2006 general election largely on the strength of Republican coattails. Georgia and Utah now compete to be the "reddest of the red states" in electoral politics. (Georgia avoids competing with any state but Alabama in social statistics, consistently placing last among SAT scores, for example.)

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Personal Background

Cagle is a native of Hall County and resident of Chestnut Mountain. He has a high school diploma. He attended two different colleges but never graduated. Cagle is not known for his intelligence, which hampered his rise to leadership within the Senate Republican Caucus. A former tuxedo salesman, Cagle got involved in the banking and real estate industries after his election to the Senate. He is married with three children.

Legislative Career

Cagle was elected to the State Senate in 1994 and served six terms before running for Lieutenant Governor. Cagle was one of the most conservative members of the State Senate. He served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus in the mid 1990s, but once the Caucus grew beyond a dozen members, Cagle was ousted from that post in 2000. He ran for Senate Majority Leader in 2003, losing again. Cagle's candidacy for Lieutenant Governor was initially viewed as a graceful way for him to end his Senate service after twice being rejected for leadership.

Cagle Upsets Reed

The otherwise obscure Cagle drew attention by opposing and defeating Christian conservative Ralph Reed in the 2006 Republican Primary for Lieutenant Governor.

An underdog at first, Cagle ran a stronger-than-expected campaign and won the GOP nomination with the help of anti-Reed publicity in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Democratic crossover votes. He was also aided by Republicans, who though not enamored with Cagle recognized the danger of Reed on the ticket.

Although cheered by many moderates for his defeat of Reed, Cagle is a right wing brown bashing extremist known for his anti-choice, anti-environment, anti-consumer and anti-immigrant views. He has been repeatedly named to the "Dirty Dozen" by the Georgia Sierra Club and was this year named to the "Dirty Dozen Plus One." He has voted to fly the Confederate Battle Flag over the State Capitol and openly courted the support of the Southern Party.

Election as Lieutenant Governor

In the general election, Cagle was opposed by Democrat Jim Martin, a well respected Atlanta lawyer.

Martin criticized Cagle for his legislative efforts to legalize "predatory lending," an unsavory practice in which elderly homeowners are stripped of the equity in their homes by unscupulous lenders peddling high priced loans.

While serving on the Senate Banking Committee and fighting to legalize predatory lending, Cagle organized and served on the board of directors of a bank. The ethically challenged Ralph Reed raised the banking conflict-of-interest allegation in the primary, but to no avail.

Like many Georgia Republicans, Cagle campaigned for election with crass nativist appeals. In a September 15, 2006 "field hearing" in Gainesville, Georgia, Cagle stated that, "The real issue is not the cost of health care at all...Instead, it is the failure of our federal government to secure America's borders." Source: Harris Blackwood, "Immigration Testimony Displeases Norwood," The Gainesville Times, September 16, 2006.

Cagle was endorsed by the Southern Party of Georgia, a group that advocates that Georgia adopt the Confederate Battle Flag as the official state flag and join the other former Confederate states in once again seceding from the Union.

Transition

Immediately after his election, Cagle announced formation of a "Senate Transition Committee" with the stated objective of siezing total power over the Senate for himself. The five man Transitition Committee is stacked with three Cagle loyalists, Senators Chip Pearson, Chip Rogers and David Shafer. It also includes two Republicans who did not support Cagle, Senators Eric Johnson and Tommie Williams, but no women, non-whites or Democrats.

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