Georgia 2018: Williams fails to deliver ‘corroborating’ dirt on Cagle

State Sen. Michael Williams.

Republican Michael Williams vowed his press conference at the Georgia statehouse would release a trove of new and “corroborating” details about the front-runner in the race for governor. Instead, he used the event to blast Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle with no proof to back his claims up.

With a handful of reporters and a few supporters watching on, the state senator accused Cagle of thwarting his proposal to boost pay for police. And he again asserted that Cagle and his allies offered him a plum position to drop his campaign.

Pressed after his roughly 7-minute speech about delivering the promised evidence, Williams came up empty.

At one point, he said the fact that he could only convince two other GOP senators to co-sponsor his police-pay legislation was proof of Cagle’s interference, saying he based that on “comments they made to me.” He would say nothing else.

When asked for verifiable details about his claim that he was offered a powerful committee chairmanship to back out of the governor’s race, he repeatedly refused comment.

“In time,” he said.

From the back of the room, Cagle aide Brian Robinson jumped in: “Now’s a good time.”

Williams, seeming flustered, was peppered with several more questions about backing up his claims, each time saying he would not do so.

“We have a very long race ahead of us,” he said.

Williams is centering his campaign on his loyalty to Donald Trump – he was the first state elected official in Georgia to endorse him – and he’s tried to steal a page from his playbook with one headline-grabbing accusation after another.

Williams also made a string of blunders, including a much-distributed picture he took in June with a controversial militia and a rocky interview with CNN where he struggled to answer questions on the GOP healthcare bill.

Though he’s run an in-your-face campaign, he’s no fringe candidate. He’s twice been elected to a state Senate seat in deep-red Forsyth County, and he’s already pumped $1 million of his own fortune into the campaign to bolster the paltry $50,000 he’s raised.

The event on Thursday touched on an early flash-point in the governor’s race. Cagle said last week he was exploring the idea of setting a new minimum wage for police officers, months after Williams pushed a similar proposal that failed to gain traction.

But the circus-like spectacle of the event – Cagle staffers briefly considering hiring clowns to interrupt the press conference – evoked memories of the last time a GOP candidate for governor advertised a “major” press conference outside his top rival’s office.

Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington’s 2014 event, just a few feet from Gov. Nathan Deal’s second-floor statehouse digs, featured a hand-lettered sign, snickering Deal staffers and a made-for-TV interruption from the governor’s attorney – who ended up speaking longer than Pennington.

Thursday’s event delivered a similar scene: A small group of reporters flanked by a wider ring of Capitol staffers and campaign deputies curious about Williams’ threat to unleash Cagle’s “previously undisclosed actions.”

After the event, as Williams quickly disappeared and head-shaking staffers returned to their offices, state Sen. Renee Unterman stayed behind. In unsparing terms, she accused Williams of running a “fraudulent” campaign and of playing bait-and-switch with overhyped promises.

“He wants to lead the voters on and the media on,” said Unterman, who backs Cagle. “It’s fluff. And it’s not very good fluff.”

Reader Comments 1

3 comments
Habrams01
Habrams01

Well, Williams has had since his statement at the GAGOP Convention June, 2nd, enough time to dig a hole and it looks like he just stepped into it.  Now all he has to do is pull the top in on himself just like Bugs Bunny.

Long Memories
Long Memories

Delusional speech.  I have to shake my head at whoever is advising him.  Don't hype up your speech if you have nothing to deliver.  Most advisers know you want to exceed expectations in a speech like this, not deliver absolutely nothing.  Easy to see why he is the lowest fundraiser of all the candidates.  Long series of missteps, he will drop out and disappear in the near future.

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

Folks, this is not your average 'fringe GOP candidate.' Rather, this IS what is defining and representing the modern-day GOP at all levels of government. The party was hijacked years ago by neo-cons which led to the mindless tea party-bots to the even more mindless Trumpsters. Keep that in mind when you run to the voting booth in the future: this is the poster child of the GOP, a terrible person, candidate and Trump rubber-stamper. This missive really goes out to the more low information voters who might get taken in by this con artist. Even more so, the state GOP is led by those with no absolutely no morals or ethics. Certainly there is dirt on Lt. Gov. Cagle, but this very weak 'candidate' failed to deliver anything today and will not deliver anything in the future.