ATLANTA -- Low on money and likely votes, Secretary of State
Lewis Massey suspended his campaign for governor yesterday and
threw his support to Democratic runoff opponent Roy Barnes.
Barnes and Massey will still be on the Aug. 11 runoff ballot.
Massey just won't campaign for it.
Only moments after Massey quit the contest, the second-place
finisher in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Michael
Bowers, filed a request with the Secretary of State's Office for
a recount. In the unofficial tally, Bowers was about 1,500 votes
short of making a runoff with GOP frontrunner Guy Millner.
Massey's announcement, made at a Capitol news conference with
Gov. Zell Miller and Barnes at his side, came a day after he had
promised to run a hard-hitting runoff campaign.
"Here is a man who is putting his state before his political
aspirations," said Miller, who appointed Massey secretary of
state in 1995.
"This shows the true character of Lewis Massey," Barnes added.
The governor, who is in his second term and cannot seek a
third, vowed to help Barnes in the fall campaign.
Barnes led Tuesday's Democratic primary with 49 percent of the
vote. Massey was second, with just under 28 percent. A candidate
must get more than 50 percent of votes to win the nomination.
Massey said he did not withdraw from the runoff because, under
Georgia law, that would throw the third-place finisher, David
Poythress, into a runoff with Barnes.
Poythress, who attended the news conference, told reporters he
was not troubled by that arrangement. "Presumably it was his
[Massey's] judgment that he cannot win it, and if he chooses to
simply suspend operations that's his choice," Poythress said.
Just Wednesday, Massey turned down Barnes' request to sign a
pledge against negative television advertising during the
runoff. He then slammed Barnes for opposing the state lottery
and the Equal Rights Amendment and claimed the frontrunner
fought mandatory sentences for murderers and rapists.
But Barnes held a big financial advantage over Massey, who had
no money left in his campaign war chest after spending $3.6
million to make the runoff.
Barnes told reporters yesterday that he promised Massey nothing
to get him out of the race.
Massey said he entered the governor's race to help build a
bright future for Georgia families.
"I believe the best way to reach those goals now is to suspend
my campaign for governor and endorse, wholeheartedly, Roy Barnes
as the next governor of Georgia," he said.
Barnes was effusive in his praise of Massey and the popular
"If you want to see what makes Georgia great, you just look at
Lewis Massey and Zell Miller," Barnes said. "I look forward to a
vigorous campaign, but I also look forward to continuing the
policies of Zell Miller and the policies of Lewis Massey. …