ATLANTA – It’s almost like it came straight from the script of a House of Cards episode – a state senator claims he was offered a key party position in the Georgia Senate in exchange for him dropping out of the governor’s race...and throwing his support behind someone else.
But two-term Republican Sen. Michael Williams (and former chairman of the Trump Presidential Campaign in Georgia) is standing behind the shocking claims. He said the alleged arm twisting has only strengthened his resolve to stay in the race.
Williams went off-script at the Georgia Republican Convention this past weekend, when, not long into his planned speech, he made those claims.
“Not 25 minutes ago in that backroom, I was offered the appropriations chairmanship for the Senate if I did not run,” Williams announced to the room. According to him, getting the position was contingent on him throwing his support to another candidate.
11Alive's Duffie Dixon sat down with the Forsyth County native Monday night to ask for specifics.
“A Gentleman walks up to me, chit-chatting, asking, ‘You sure you want to do this,’” Williams claimed. “‘We really like having you in the Senate. How about the appropriations chair?’”
That position is one of the highest one in the Senate, next to the Pro Tem.
According to Williams, who’s not naming names yet, he was offered the position to get behind current Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s campaign. Cagle is considered to be one of the strongest contenders in the race this far.
11Alive reached out to Cagle’s campaign manager, Scott Binkley, who responded with a statement saying, “The insinuation that Casey made this offer is ludicrous and absolutely false. In his unhinged speech, Sen. Williams attacks budges that he voted for as a Senate insider and rebuffs cronyism, while he attacks a business association of which he is a current board member.”
Williams concedes the race is going to be a tough gubernatorial campaign, one in which he's going up against some big names, but he said he won’t be deterred.
“I am not running for power, or privilege or prestige,” he told 11Alive. “I am running because I am sick and tired of career politicians who do not care about us.