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Election-year sniping hits the state Senate

State Sen. Michael Williams has repeatedly taken the Senate floor to criticize the lieutenant governor this legislative session — both men are running for governor this year — and on Wednesday one of his colleagues had heard enough.

Williams, a Cumming Republican, has addressed the Senate pretty much every day this session, often denouncing Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who also serves as the Senate’s president.

State Sen. John Albers, a Republican from Alpharetta, urged his colleagues lay off the election-year sniping after Williams accused Cagle of lacking leadership.

Cagle’s campaign slogan is “Cagle Lead.”

Williams said, “Mr. President, before you get your panties in a wad or get your cabal after me, I’m just merely reciting a slogan. There is really no leading when it comes to ‘Cagle Lead,’ there is only intimidation, bullying and coercion.”

Albers got up shortly after to ask that his colleagues behave professionally while in the chamber.

“This is sacred ground and from this point forward no matter what you’re running for or who you’re supporting, senator from the 27th,” he said, calling out Williams, who represents the 27th District. “It’s time to all be senators and rise above political rhetoric.”

Cagle’s campaign declined to comment on Williams’ floor statements, instead referring readers to Albers’ “eloquent remarks.” Albers has donated $1,000 to Cagle’s campaign.

Cagle and Williams are in a field of five announced candidates for the Republican nomination for governor. Also running are Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Hunter Hill, who resigned from the Senate last year, and businessman Clay Tippins.

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