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Deals finances wont knock him from race
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Reports of Nathan Deal's financial troubles caused worried rumblings from some Republicans around the state, but Deal's support in his home town appears to remain strong.

Deal, the Republican nominee in Georgia's gubernatorial race, has been under pressure since he confirmed he is facing a Feb. 1 deadline to repay a $2.3 million loan he guaranteed for his daughter and son-in-law's sporting goods business. He also acknowledged that $2.85 million in active loans for his auto salvage business were left out of a financial disclosure form.

Deal's campaign has since shown he has assets and is working toward paying off the debt.

But the news raised concerns for some.

Kenny Burgamy, a conservative radio show host in Macon, said callers lit up his switchboard last week when he discussed Deal's loan troubles. A number of them thought Deal should step aside as the party's nominee, Burgamy said.

Tom Perdue, a well-known Georgia GOP campaign operative who ran U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss' re-election race in 2008, told the Associated Press he thought Deal should step down as the nominee.

But it's not that simple according to Matt Carrothers, a spokesman in the secretary of state's office. If Deal stepped down, it would take the Republican Party out of the race completely, he said.

"If a candidate withdraws less than 60 days prior to an election, that vacancy cannot be filled," Carrothers said.

But locally, it was never a concern, anyway, said Jim Pilgrim, chairman of the Hall County Republicans.

"The Hall County Republican Party is 100 percent behind Nathan," Pilgrim said. "We know who he is, and a lot of us know him personally and know the kind of man he is."

Pilgrim said he thinks a lot of the concern comes from those who still may be bitter about the primary election.

"I've heard some dissension from some. But the ones I heard from were former Karen Handel supporters," Pilgrim said.

State Sen. Butch Miller, a Deal supporter, said he thinks Deal's recently amended financial disclosures make the worries a moot point.

"His most recent and most complete financial reports that were released indicate that he is clearly financially solvent," Miller said. "I think in light of the financial disclosures and the way they've been presented to the general public, I think it's a real testimony to the confidence that people have in Nathan and his campaign."

Miller said he thinks many supporters identify with Deal's financial troubles because of the state of the economy.

"Would I have wished for it? Certainly not, I wouldn't wish it on anyone," Miller said. "But as far as him handling it, I think he's weathered the storm tremendously. I really haven't seen any slippage in (support) from the people I'm talking to."

 

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