Politics & Government

In Georgia, candidates are a ticket — and a couple

ATLANTA — Carol Porter, wife of state Rep. DuBose Porter and a political presence in her own right, announced her run for lieutenant governor Thursday.

That sets up a husband-and-wife political ticket at the top of Georgia ballots later this year. DuBose Porter, D-Dublin, began his gubernatorial campaign last year.

"I know you all know me as DuBose Porter's wife," Carol Porter told a throng of reporters Thursday morning at the state Capitol. "I am definitely qualified to do this job. I've been here watching it for 27 years."

Carol Porter is running statewide to seek her first elected office. She's the only Democrat in the race so far, with the formal deadline to qualify coming in April. If no other candidates enter the race, she would face Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who became the state's first Republican lieutenant governor in 2006 as the GOP completed its takeover of elected state government.

Carol Porter went after the Republican majority Thursday, saying the state might not have so many budget problems today "if we had had people paying attention." She said Cagle's agenda is out of sync with Georgians, and she criticized him for presiding over the Senate last year as the homeowner's tax relief grant, which had given homeowners a property tax cut, was phased out to save the state money.

Cagle's campaign manager responded to Porter's candidacy in an e-mailed statement, calling Cagle "a steady hand and a principled leader."

"We anticipate a spirited contest and a thoughtful discussion of the issues," Cagle campaign manager Ryan Cassin said.

Carol Porter said she would focus on one of her husband's top issues during the campaign: forcing the state to do a better job of collecting sales tax revenue. She called it "insane" to furlough teachers when there's owed tax money on the table.

Both Porters have pushed this point as a massive missed opportunity for the state, saying it could collect an extra $1 billion in unpaid sales taxes with better enforcement. But the Georgia Department of Revenue and others have said repeatedly that number is far overstated, and a study of the issue is ongoing.

Carol Porter also called for a shift in spending within the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program. She said college scholarships should remain a priority, but the state also should return to its previous policy of spending some of the money on early education. That could include technology in schools, job training and graduation coaches for younger students, she said.

Carol Porter, who manages the family chain of newspapers based in Dublin, said she wants to help enlarge the Democratic Party's tent in this election.

She said she plans to appeal to people who are "fed up with Georgia politics" and that she favors more funding for education.

She also acknowledged that her run for statewide office "was not a thought two weeks ago."

Read more of this story at Macon.com