Jimmy Carter steps on to the campaign stage for his grandson —… | www.myajc.com

13
Oct

Jimmy Carter steps on to the campaign stage for his grandson —… | www.myajc.com

ALBANY — Former President Jimmy Carter, hoping to increase the black turnout his grandson will need to win Georgia’s governor’s race, jumped directly into the political fray Sunday.

And he did it by going to church.

The 90-year-old former governor already has helped Jason Carter raise millions of dollars and provided him counsel. But the Georgia native’s appearance Sunday morning at an African-American church in Albany marked his official debut on the campaign trail for his grandson’s bid to oust Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

The elder Carter urged congregants to cast their ballots – early voting starts Monday – and accused Republicans of trying to deny them the right to vote.

“Twelve years ago in Georgia, we had a change in governmental attitude toward the Voting Rights Act, and the right of all people to vote,” said Carter, who said Republicans have “been determined to put every obstacle in the way” for blacks, the mentally disabled and the elderly to vote.

The elder Carter was referring efforts by Republicans to support voter ID requirements and oppose a decades-old law that required Georgia to clear voting changes with federal authorities. Deal and supporters say the voter ID rules prevent fraud and that the 1965 law outlived its usefulness. Opponents worry the moves could lead to disenfranchisement.

Until now Jimmy Carter has played a largely behind-the-scenes role in Jason Carter’s gubernatorial bid. At Sunday’s event at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a short trip from the former president’s hometown of Plains, the two shared the same stage, and reflected Carter’s hope that he can help his grandson appeal to black voters in the Nov. 4 election.

Carter’s campaign hopes to push black turnout to roughly 30 percent of the electorate to unseat Deal.

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