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Area residents react with shock, sadness to Cagle's decision

POSTED: April 16, 2009 12:36 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and fellow GOP members at a rally last October at the Gainesville Civic Center.

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Casey Cagle’s many supporters in Gainesville were saddened and surprised by his sudden departure from the governor’s race Wednesday.

Cagle announced that impending surgery and rehabilitation to deal with a degenerative disc condition would prevent him from remaining in the 2010 governor’s race.

Local politicians were surprised that Cagle dropped out.

"I’m really disappointed. I was really hoping he would win," said Hall County Commissioner Bobby Banks. "It’s a shock."

City Councilmen George Wangemann and Danny Dunagan also expressed disappointment at the news, although Dunagan said he believed Cagle would run again in future elections. Both said they would have supported Cagle in his bid for governor.

Cagle already had the vote of Nathan Martin of Flowery Branch.

"I think he would have been a good governor to come after Sonny Perdue," Martin said. "I would have voted for him for sure."

Gainesville City Councilman Robert "Bob" Hamrick, who said the news of Cagle’s withdrawal from the race shocked him, agreed that Cagle would have done the job well.

"Casey has obviously done a good job representing the state, representing this area," Hamrick said. "He had a head start. ... he certainly would have made a good governor."

Cagle was viewed as a top candidate by many in his home county.

"I think he had a good chance of winning," said Jennifer Eubanks of Flowery Branch.

Banks, who supported Cagle in his campaign for lieutenant governor and planned to do so in his race for governor, agreed.

"I would have had to classify him as the front runner," Banks said

Tom Oliver, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, said he thinks Cagle’s withdrawal will shake up Hall County voters.

"It sure will change the complexion of our local position with the governors race because I think everyone here was pretty well geared to support Casey, our local hometown person. Now, this really creates an interesting scenario of how this community will divide up toward the candidates next year," Oliver said.



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