For the last 24 hours, rumors have abounded that Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge is getting to set to endorse Valarie Wilson, the Democrat hoping to succeed him. There is really no other conclusion to make of a planned “special announcement,” set for today, which will also reportedly include “additional members of the education community.”

It is news, of course, because Barge is a Republican. He was elected in 2010, narrowly edging out Richard Woods in a two-man primary by a little over 16,000 votes. That victory was tantamount to the general election; Barge went on to a double-digit victory over his Democratic opponent.

A lot has changed since then. Barge split publicly with party leadership, including Governor Nathan Deal, in rejecting the charter schools amendment that drew more Georgia votes in 2012 than Mitt Romney. A year later, Barge announced he was foregoing a re-election bid to mount a primary challenge to Deal. Having won statewide in the past, and having a statewide office from which to speak, it wasn’t something to be easily dismissed. But Barge’s effort quickly proved it wasn’t going to gain the kind of traction needed to make a strong showing, much less actually unseat an incumbent governor.

Barge’s gubernatorial campaign raised just $167,000. It was only $50,000 more than he raised over the course of the entire 2010 campaign, but state school superintendent races aren’t known for being anywhere near as expensive as a run for governor. His campaign was centered chiefly on a challenge to Deal’s education record, and it largely veered to the left of most Republicans. Ultimately, Barge went down to a crushing defeat on primary night. Four years after winning 53 percent of the general election vote, and 51 percent of Republican primary votes, he claimed 11 percent. It was good enough for a third place finish; a statewide elected official was bested for the title of runner-up by former Dalton Mayor David Pennington. Ultimately, the lone memory of his campaign will be the infamous typo that heralded his entry into the race; the state school superintendent launching a campaign website declaring he was running for “govenor.” 

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