Georgia real estate mogul Ray Boyd announced Monday he would run for governor of the Peach State as an Independent, pledging to spend $2 million of his own money on the race.
Boyd, who for weeks had been flirting with a Republican bid but encountered opposition from state party leaders after refusing last week to sign a GOP loyalty oath, has little more than two months to collect upwards of 51,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for ballot eligibility.
The pledge reads in full: "I do hereby swear or affirm my allegiance to the Georgia Republican Party."
But Boyd, a relative new-comer to politics whose Republican-turned-Independent campaign is predicated on his ability to self-finance, objected to the oath, which more than 150 would-be and current Republican office holders signed Monday. The businessman said he could not pledge allegiance to a party that has deviated from good policy for the sake of politics; alternatively he offered a "compromise oath," and was quickly rebuffed by party leaders.
"They've left me no other choice," Boyd said of his decision to run as an Independent after a terse stand-off with an attorney for the state GOP. "Maybe I'll set up a Ronald Reagan Republican wing."
The oath, an election law requirement to run under the banner of the GOP, has never before been rejected by a candidate, according to state party chairwoman Sue Everhart . "I don't know what the big problem is - you either are a Republican or you're not," Everhart said last week when Boyd first aired his grievances with the rule.
Boyd blamed the controversy on term-limited Governor Sonny Perdue . Perdue, who has yet to endorse any of his seven potential successors, had "anointed Karen Handel to be governor," he said. "He must think this is the best way to get her there."
RedState endorsed former Secretary of State Karen Handel for the post in August.