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November 7, 2013

Jason Carter to run for Ga. governor

ATLANTA —

Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and a state lawmaker from Atlanta, said Thursday that he plans to run for governor of Georgia next year, energizing Democrats coming off a 2010 election in which the GOP claimed every statewide office.

Carter's decision resets the 2014 race as Republican Gov. Nathan Deal seeks re-election. Deal already faces two primary opponents and will now have to deal with a Carter campaign that is likely to grab national attention, be well-financed and criticize the governor's ethics and leadership.

Carter said concerns about education and the economy were at the center of his decision to run.

"I've traveled around the state, and people believe our education system is on the brink. People believe the economy is not working for the middle class, and people want to see an honest government that works for everyone," Carter said in an interview with The Associated Press. "As a state, we can't wait four years to start getting those right."

Later Thursday, Carter took the first steps toward running, filing paperwork with the state to form a campaign committee. He was joined by his wife and two young sons.

Georgia Democrats have been dealing with poor state party finances and a lack of political firepower since Republicans claimed every statewide office in 2010. There's been much internal optimism about the 2016 presidential race and the 2018 governor's race as being opportunities for Democrats, but Carter is clearly betting changing demographics in the state could be enough to carry him to the governor's mansion next year.

"Folks in Georgia are less partisan than people think," Carter said in the AP interview. "They are going to vote for the candidate who is going make education priority and make the economy work for them."

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