Casey Cagle is set to have a fundraiser on June 28th with a $2,000.00 contribution amount for the reception. A private dinner will be held with Senate members and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. Oxendine was running against Cagle, but dropped out to wide speculation, denied by those close to Oxendine, that he decided he couldn’t beat Reed.
One of the names that stands out on the list of senators is Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams. Among others, Eric Johnson, the President Pro Temp, and Don Balfour, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. The invitation is here.
Several people have suggested that Tommie Williams, who has so far stayed out of that race, was using this opportunity to endorse Cagle. However, sources close to Williams tell me that this event is a gathering of Republican Senators and Williams is the Majority Leader, but that his name on the invite should not be construed as an endorsement. Williams, I’m told, along with Eric Johnson, has wanted to stay out of the race altogether. Whichever candidate gets the nomination will potentially get elected and neither the leader nor the President PT want to step on toes or get in the way.
Johnson, actually, is in a rather precarious position. Under current Senate rules, Johnson is the most powerful man in the Senate, cutting off Lt. Governor Mark Taylor. Johnson and the GOP leadership in the Senate will, should they keep the Senate (and the odds are very good) and Reed or Cagle get the nomination, have to decide how much power they will want to hand over to one of their own as Lt. Governor — particularly when that person will probably want to use the Senate as his bully pulpit in his quest for the 2010 gubernatorial nomination.
As we’ve already seen in the past four years, the Governor’s interests and the Senate leadership’s interests are not always the same. How much more would that be exacerbated by a President of the Senate who is looking to bigger and better things on day one of the job?