By Walter Jones –
ATLANTA — The barrage of negative advertisements about Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter is helping Libertarian Andrew Hunt make his case for a third alternative in the governor’s race.
“It’s a very, very night-and-day choice here. I am very different,” Hunt said in his only televised debate with the other two. “I am a small-businessman, PhD in engineering. I have about 50 patents, and I want to put all that to work for you. … I have 1 percent or less of the money they do. You’re going to be seeing lots of ads run by them. We have the news of who they’re being supported by, the special interests that paid for these tens of millions (of dollars) in ads. You have to, if you want to support me, talk to other people.”
Like Carter, he supports Medicaid expansion, but like Deal, he favors so-called tort reform that limits malpractice payouts. He agrees with Carter on ending the ban on same-sex marriage but is in synch with Deal on wanting to adhere to the original interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. He’s an advocate of school choice and educational savings accounts for tuition like Deal, and he joins Carter in attacking the incumbent’s ethics.
The central plank on Hunt’s platform is job creation through a unique proposal to have the state cover the payroll-related taxes for full-time jobs paying more than $11 per hour.
“We can actually drive, within my term if you elect me into office, the unemployment rate to less than 5 percent,” he tells voters.
He argues that will create incentive to hire because the costs will be lower for employers. As a result of skilled workers getting those new jobs, he predicts that unskilled workers will also find more opportunities.
“The better the job environment, the better the pay. There’s more competition,” he said.
Hunt has been appealing to tea party activists, trying to convince them that supporting him will serve to nudge future candidates more to the right.
He disputes the notion that a vote for him is one less for Deal and therefore aids Carter to win. Instead, Hunt says polls show that a runoff is inevitable, so people can cast a Libertarian ballot in the general election to send a message and then make a pragmatic decision between Deal and Carter in the December runoff.
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