- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - The candidates for Georgia governor campaigned in separate areas of the state on Saturday, with both Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter counting on support from big names in a final push to Tuesday’s election.

Deal wrapped up a statewide bus tour in his hometown of Gainesville that included a visit from Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Christie urged Deal’s supporters to give him a second term and not let the race go to a runoff.

A candidate must earn more than 50 percent of the vote or the top two vote-getters compete again on Dec. 2. Libertarian Andrew Hunt also is on the ballot.

“If we have a runoff, I’m coming back and I’m going to be looking for the people in this room who let me down,” Christie said, laughing with the crowd.

The visit was Christie’s second to Georgia during the campaign, and the Republican Governors Association he chairs has poured more than $3 million into Deal’s re-election bid.

Meanwhile, Carter traveled on his own bus tour with stops in Vidalia and Baxley before talking with tailgaters outside the Georgia’s football game against Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. Carter’s grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, visited campaign offices in metro Atlanta.

“(Georgia) is on our way down, but we can change that,” Jimmy Carter told a group of more than 30 volunteers in a campaign office in downtown Jonesboro. He asked them to commit to 5 or 10 phone calls to friends and family before Tuesday’s election.

Carter’s campaign said the candidate’s south Georgia swing demonstrates the state senator’s commitment to representing the entire state if he’s elected. Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas said Georgians don’t need advice from a New Jersey governor.

“It’s amazing that things have gotten so bad for Gov. Deal that he needs to rely on New Jersey politics and money and apparently to tell us how to run our state,” Thomas said. “We see that as a total sign of weakness that they have to rely on Gov. Christie, and it shows the governor is in big trouble going into Election Day.”

Deal told reporters before the Gainesville rally that wrapping up his final statewide bus tour was bittersweet but he’s feeling confident going into Tuesday. His campaign plans a fly-around to several cities on Monday.

“The indications are our people are turning out to vote, and we’re very encouraged by that,” Deal said.

He later told the crowd of supporters they were essential for a win on Tuesday.

“Nobody could ask for a better hometown or community to have support than I have,” Deal said. “You came to the forefront four years ago, you brought us through, you made it possible for me to get the nomination and then you came back out in the general election and allowed me to serve as your governor for the last four years.”

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