Jack Kingston: 'Running for Governor could be a logical next step'

By Vlada Galan

The 2018 Georgia Governor’s race looks to feature a cornucopia of prominent GOPers, from statewide office holders, to former congressmen, to serial candidates. One name that has been discussed widely is that of former Representative Jack Kingston. With several candidates already confirmed, the question remains: “will Jack be back?" 

While he has not reached a final decision, it seems there is a very real possibility that he will enter the race.

“Ever since my days in the State Legislature, I’ve kept a healthy interest and been active in what’s going on under the Gold Dome – doing what I can to ensure the Georgia government works for the people," Kingston told zpolitics. "I’m still involved, of course, but I do miss every day serving the people of Georgia in a public official role, which is why running for Governor could be a logical next step. I’ve been very encouraged by those who have reached out and asked me to the run the last few months, which is why I’m giving it careful consideration."

Given the strong possibility of Jack entering the race, the question becomes, what impact would he have on the prospects of the other GOP candidates? Confirmed Republican contenders include Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and State Senator Hunter Hill. House speaker David Ralston, State Senator Josh McKoon, State Senator Michael Williams, Nick Ayers, and Representative Lynn Westmoreland are also mulling a run.

Jack Kingston’s candidacy would likely have the strongest impact on presumed front runner, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. Cagle, who is known to have strong relationships with many Georgia Congressman. He could have a difficult time securing their endorsements during a primary with Jack Kingston in the race. As a secondary blow, Kingston and Cagle both draw from the same pool of more conservative establishment donors. As evidence of their common fundraising pool, Cagle retained, Rebecca Comminsky, one of Kingston’s former Fundraisers.

 Further complicating the race is Kingston’s close ties to the Trump campaign, which may help him shore up support from the President and his network. These ties could create complications for hopefuls who have never served in Government looking to brand themselves as outsiders. Many of the donors and grassroots activists who might naturally be drawn to an “outsider” may feel loyalty to Kingston due to his relationship with Trump, the quintessential outsider. That would narrow the path for candidates not currently serving in government and force them to align themselves with a different faction of the GOP.

Of course, if the last few elections have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Several politicians and pundits have spent the last four years preparing for the open Governor’s race. It would not, however, be surprising if the race ends up looking far different than any of us anticipated.

Vlada Galan is an international political consultant helping conservative politicians get elected throughout the world. A native of Odessa, Ukraine Vlada currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she has worked on several state wide races. Vlada may be contacted at VladaGalan@gmail.com.