State School Superintendent John Barge may appear to be an underdog — but he wasn’t talking like one on Wednesday after he announced he will challenge Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican primary next year.
“We have tremendous support across the state with educators and teachers, and they’re a pretty strong force,” he said. “They still have the respect of their communities, so their help will help.”
Barge is a 30-year Floyd County resident and former Bartow County school administrator. He said he decided to announce in his hometown of Smyrna so his mother, who lives in hospice there, could be present for the launch of his campaign.
His decision to take on a well-financed incumbent, he said, came after seeing too many public school systems struggle for resources with no help from the state.
“We’re making progress — but we have places like Floyd County laying off 120 people, Chattooga County cutting two months of instruction just to keep their doors open,” Barge said. “I just don’t see the concern in (the governor’s) office, and education is the foundation of our society.”