Political Insider

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Tippins targets ‘strip club’ Cagle and ‘Benedict’ Hill 


The bumbling Casey Cagle lookalike is back. And this time he’s joined by a furtive Hunter Hill impersonator.

Republican Clay Tippins debuted a new TV ad Thursday for the homestretch of the GOP primary race that’s backed by $500,000 in spending. And the Navy SEAL takes square aim at the two candidates considered to be at the top of the heap in the GOP primary.

It opens with the faux-Cagle – wearing the same powder-blue tux he donned in Tippins’ Super Bowl Sunday ad – dancing provocatively in a nightclub. 

“Casey Cagle talks about his Georgia values, but he championed tax cuts for a strip club,” Tippins said in the ad. 

His campaign cites the lieutenant governor’s attendance of a party celebrating the redevelopment of the Clermont Hotel – home to a famed strip club – which relied on tax credits for historic preservation.  

Then viewers are transported to the woods, where the faux-Hill is seen hiding behind trees dressed in Revolutionary War-era garb.

“Hunter Hill talks like he’s Rambo, but he’s really a Benedict Arnold who’s for gun control. Just ask the NRA.” 

Tippins points to a “C” rating the group once gave Hill and comments suggesting he would support raising the minimum age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21. The former state senator disavowed those remarks and said he “won’t give an inch” on gun rights.

Tippins ends the ad speaking directly to the camera. 

“I’m a businessman and a Navy SEAL. And most importantly, I am what I say I am. I’ll cut taxes, crush sex trafficking and get our kids reading. So let’s roll.” 

It’s now or never for Tippins and other GOP contenders gunning for a spot in a likely July runoff against Cagle. Private and public polling show a close race for the spot between Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Tippins. State Sen. Michael Williams is also in the race. 

Hill spokesman Cody Hall said Tippins should be ashamed for comparing Hill, a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, to a notorious traitor.

“Clay Tippins claims to be an outsider, but he campaigns as a slimy politician,” said Hall. 

Cagle’s campaign called the ad laughable and pointed to broad support for the tax break for restoration of historic buildings.

“If Clay Tippins is talking about strip clubs and the Revolutionary War, it’s because he can’t talk about his record of working for a French company and outsourcing thousands of American jobs,” said spokesman Brian Robinson.

Tippins, a Capgemini executive, is trying to carve out a lane as an outsider in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal. 

He’s the only major GOP contender who refused a pledge to sign the “religious liberty” measure that Deal vetoed. He’s blasted his rivals for their “cozy relationship” with powerful utilities. And he’s criticized Cagle for failing to embrace a medical marijuana expansion. 

His TV persona is crafted by a figure who is used to honing the images of outsider-candidates. Fred Davis, the Hollywood adsmith who created David Perdue’s denim-wearing TV spots in 2014, developed Tippins’ advertising message. 

See the ad for yourself:


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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.