Dahlonega – The breakfast crowd is rolling into The Wagon Wheel, where Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is busy tuning up his campaign for governor.
He’s backslapping supporters, greeting old friends — “the best-looking man in all of Lumpkin County,” he razzes a retiree — and generally trying to present the image of an affable front-runner in a crowded field.
“When you are the lead person, you have to pedal a lot faster than everyone else,” said Cagle, an avid cyclist. “Because they’re all chasing us.”
Cagle has been plotting a run for governor for about a decade. It has showed in the early days of his campaign: He unveiled a detailed and noncontroversial campaign agenda of lower taxes and more jobs, dominated early fundraising and locked up a trove of endorsements.
And yet, he hasn’t managed to scare off a crowded field of rivals that seems poised to grow, nor has he locked up support from some of the bigger names in Georgia’s Republican orbit who are sitting on the sidelines.