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Cagle says he won’t endorse any candidate for transportation board post

POSTED: June 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday that he risked a considerable amount of political capital in the last race for the State Transportation Board and he, along with the House speaker and the governor, will sit on the sidelines for today’s caucus to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Chairman Mike Evans.

The Chestnut Mountain Republican made his comments during a visit to Forsyth County. He indicated the race was wide open.

"I don’t know that there’s a consensus candidate," Cagle said. "There’s still several in the race, and they are all very, very good candidates. I don’t see a real consensus."

Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, became entangled in a high stakes battle when Evans stood for re-election in February. Two months later, after winning a second term, Evans resigned after informing the board of a budding romance with Department of Transportation Commissioner Gena Abraham, now his fiancee.

Cagle said he’s staying out this time.

"I have elected to stay out along with the speaker and the governor and let the legislature express their views," he said.

Steve Farrow, a former state senator from Dalton, met one on one with lawmakers from the eastern side of the 9th District on Wednesday, including a meeting with Rep. Carl Rogers and state Sen. Lee Hawkins, both Gainesville Republicans.

"We had a good meeting," said Rogers.

Farrow and Dalton businessman Phil Neff both hail from Whitfield County, the most populous county in the western portion of the district. The two other candidates for the post are Ray Seipp, a city councilman from Lookout Mountain, and Larry Dent, a retired DOT deputy commissioner from South Hall County.

Dent is likely to find support among the Hall delegation.

The vote is taken in a caucus of the 25 House and Senate members from the 9th Congressional District. The caucus will set its own rules as to how candidates are eliminated in the balloting. The vote likely will take multiple ballots. Lawmakers vote by secret ballot.

Cagle said any of the four candidates would suit him.

"I used a lot of political capital on the previous races, and all the candidates are very good candidates who would all do a great job. So there’s really no reason for me to be involved in the process."

The vote is to take place at 3 p.m. in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol.



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