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Greg Bluestein

Jason Carter: ‘This election is not going to be about guns.’

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Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter became one of the hardest folks to track down last week as Gov. Nathan Deal signed a broad expansion of gun rights into law. He turned to a familiar audience Wednesday to explain his vote for the measure, which disappointed many supporters and donors backing him in his quest for governor.

Rashad Richey, a former Democratic Party operative who landed him on his WAOK radio show this morning, told the lawmaker he was “really hurt, really disappointed” by that vote. “I need an explanation,” Richey demanded.

Carter told Richey that he’s heard from a range of supporters who feel the same way but he stands by his vote.

“This election is not going to be about guns because the issues that Gov. Deal and I differ on are going to be manifold and important.”

Interjected Richey: “I want to make sure that you’re not saying that the ‘guns everywhere’ legislation is not important.”

“Not at all,” answered Carter. He said he was one of the “few Democrats down there that the NRA talks to” and that he played an important part in helping make sure provisions that would have legalized the carrying of guns on campus and required houses of worship to allow guns unless leaders ban them didn’t make the final version.

Said Carter:

“We’re never going to solve these problems unless we’re able to work together. And that’s something I bring to the table. The ability to sit down with folks from all different places in this state, from all different corners and walks of life, to be able to say, ‘Hey we can find ways to move forward on some of these incredibly important issues.’”

Richey also asked Carter about the scene that unfolded at another bill signing ceremony we noted yesterday.

With two of Martin Luther King Jr.’s children at his side, Deal signed legislation Tuesday mandating that the icon’s statue be placed at the statehouse. Shortly after, he signed a bill that would effectively close the door on Medicaid expansion in Georgia – upsetting King supporters who have blasted Deal for refusing the expansion.

Carter called it an “interesting choice of venue,” adding:

“Many of my friends who were there criticized that particular juxtaposition. But at the same time we all have to recognize what a big deal it is, how good it is, that the Republican Party is reaching out to the African-American community. I think it’s good that they’re doing that. I think it helps everybody. But we all still have a long way to go.”

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