By Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took a few minutes to congratulate lawmakers during the final hours of their annual legislative session and made an indirect re-election pitch for himself.

Georgia lawmakers welcomed the Republican governor to the House floor Thursday. The session must end by midnight, freeing legislators to campaign ahead of May 20 primaries.

Deal praised the General Assembly’s work and called special attention to a fiscal year 2015 budget that includes about $500 million in additional support for K-12 education. The governor calls it the single largest education funding increase in seven years.

The governor didn’t mention his re-election bid. But his likely Democratic opponent, Sen. Jason Carter of Atlanta, has already hammered Deal for previous budgets that Carter says shortchanged Georgia’s schools and colleges.

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