North Georgia rejoiced when Nathan Deal won the GOP nomination for governor. After 18 years of representing this region in Congress, our decision to send him to DC was vindicated.

The truth? Deal is rusty. He has been essentially unchallenged for years, and its showing.

Now, in the midst of a massive state trooper shortage and an impending budget meltdown, he’s using two state troopers and a state-paid car for security…while Roy Barnes tools around the state in his own pickup truck, costing ZERO taxpayer dollars.

The worst part? The above missteps by the fledgling campaign have all happened since the runoff.

It’s madness. Nathan Deal is imploding over major things AND minor ones. He’s a gifted politician for North Georgia, but he doesn’t have the chops nor the people around him to compete on the big stage. His campaign manager? The same guy who’s been with him for years, and a main player in the ethics charges that are still hanging over Deal’s head.

He’s slow. He can’t avoid the missteps, and he can’t correct them once they happen. He’s just bumping from crisis to crisis, bumbling through a campaign with inept staffers, just gripping and grinning through an endless parade of BBQ dinners and flashbulbs from the crowd.

Deal is not quick on his feet, nor does he need to be. But if he’s not, someone in the campaign should damn well be wearing running shoes.