Political Insider

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NRA brings in its biggest gun to back Cagle’s campaign for gov 


Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle earned the NRA’s endorsement after his vow to “kill” a tax break for Delta Air Lines made national waves. Now the pro-firearms organization is bringing in its biggest gun as a reward.

The group’s president-elect, Oliver North, is set to headline three rallies on Saturday for Cagle’s campaign for governor. The visit comes days before the July 24 GOP runoff against Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who has tried to paint Cagle as weak on gun issues.  

North, a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and aide to President Ronald Reagan, will headline an 11:30 a.m. rally at Savannah’s Forest City Gun Club – the oldest such club in the nation – and then the sprawling indoor Governor’s Gun Club in Kennesaw at 2:30 p.m. He’ll end the evening with a fish fry in Cagle’s hometown of Gainesville.

“We both cherish our Second Amendment rights, and we understand how important this election is for conservatives,” said Cagle. “Honestly, I'm pumped up. These rallies will energize conservatives.”

The NRA endorsed Cagle weeks after he orchestrated the defeat of a jet-fuel tax exemption that would have saved Delta $40 million a year. The Atlanta-based airline, the state’s largest private employer, enraged conservatives by cutting business ties with the gun rights group. 

Cagle and Kemp, who sports an endorsement from the GeorgiaCarry.org state gun rights organization, have increasingly competed over who is the most vocal supporter of the Second Amendment as they scrap for support for conservatives who will decide the GOP nominee.

Kemp aired an ad showing him pointing a shotgun toward a young man purporting to be his daughter’s suitor, and he has also called for a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition over the July Fourth holiday.

Cagle sent backers a lengthy dispatch assuring them he supports “constitutional carry” — which would let gun owners conceal and carry handguns without a permit — and has run his own TV spot featuring a shotgun toting man berating a Kemp lookalike.

And both have rushed to the defense of Gainesville-based gunmaker Honor Defense after it claimed financial services firms disrupted some of its credit card payments. The two vowed to take executive action to prevent other gun manufacturers from facing similar treatment. 

The victor will face Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has taken the opposite approach: She is defying decades of conventional party strategy by opposing the NRA and calling for new firearms limits.

North became a national figure in the 1980s over his role in the Iran-contra affair, which involved Reagan administration officials funneling the proceeds of secret arms sales to Iran to help fund rebel forces in Nicaragua. In recent years, he’s been an author, pundit and TV host. 

 


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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.