Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter keeps gaining momentum in his bid to defeat GOP incumbent Nathan Deal, political observers say.

A July 15  Landmark Communications poll showed Carter with a 7-point lead over Deal, 48.7 percent to 41.3. That poll was the first since disclosure of a memo alleging Deal staffers sought to influence an ethics case.

Carter, 38, a state senator and the grandson of former President and Gov. Jimmy Carter, “is very ambitious – he’s got his eye on the race,” Emory University political scientist Merle Black said. Black said the race is “very very competitive” and that Carter “is in much better shape than anybody would have thought a year ago.”

With approval ratings in the mid to low 40s, Deal “appears a very weak incumbent,” Black said. 

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