Political Insider

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Nathan Deal, Jason Carter trade blows over education with nasty attack ads

The ad you see above is Jason Carter's most biting criticism yet on Gov. Nathan Deal's education policy, claiming the governor shorted schools out of billions of dollars to help his "big corporate friends."

"I'll be a governor who cares about education every year - not just election year," the Democratic state senator intones.

The spot, which was released online this morning, is a speedy response to a pair of attack ads from Deal's campaign that will hit the airwaves today and continue through the month.

Both of Deal's 15-second spots, which you'll find below, question why Carter voted for the three budgets before he ran for higher office but decided this year to oppose the state spending plan.

That proposal included a more than $300 million increase in K-12 funding, which Deal is quick to trumpet on the campaign trail and Carter dismisses as a campaign ploy.

The first is called "Funding:"

The second, "Politics," has a rather sharper edge:

These aren't the first attack ads of the gubernatorial campaign. The Republican Governors Association is pounding Carter with two waves of attack ads targeting his willingness to expand Medicaid and labeling him a "liberal trial lawyer."

Yet they are the most cutting ad attacks yet pushed out by each of the campaigns, which both previously released a string of upbeat spots. This nastier turn may only be a sign of things to come as polls show a tight race between the two.

Deal, for his part, echoed his campaign's sentiments in remarks to the media early Thursday. He said education funding has increased each year he's been governor, and that Carter voted for those budgets - until he "decided he wanted to be governor."

Said Deal:

"The conclusion is clear. It’s a political statement on his part. And it’s disingenuous to say I was the one who cut funding."

As for whether the education increase was timed to coincide with a November election run, Deal pointed to his decision to let local school districts spend the increased funding as they choose:

"If I really wanted to play politics on funding for education, you know exactly what would have happened … the money would have gone into teacher pay raises."

And Deal spokesman Brian Robinson tried to get the last word in, as he is wont to do:

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.