A row of signs bearing his name was posted outside as a fervor akin to a sports pep rally grew indoors.
A multiple police escort proceeded him, and his Bonaire, Ga., voice quickly filled the room as he entered, followed by loud applause.
"All right, hey everybody,'' said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as he entered a packed Evans Government Center on Wednesday.
The governor was in Columbia County partly to thank his supporters but also to ask for help yet again in his upcoming bid to continue in a second term.
The governor, who was on his campaign kickoff tour, was introduced by several state representatives and other Republican officials, a lineup the governor made sure to draw an analogy to as he began his speech.
"Politics is a team sport,'' he said, quickly adjusting the microphone before him.
Looking out to the government center crowd, Perdue said he noticed many familiar faces. The governor quickly thanked those in the crowd for helping him get elected to his first term in 2002, adding "I won't be standing here as governor next year if not for all of you.''
Perdue also was in the area to attend an event in Augusta on Wednesday as was one of the Democratic candidates in the governor's race, Cathy Cox, who is Georgia's secretary of state.
In Columbia County, the governor touted his past term for balancing a state budget that he said was miserably in the red when he began his post.
Before highlighting issues that he said he was happy to be part of in his current term, the governor first threw in a few jokes.
He recalled the first time he and his wife stayed at the governor's mansion and how he asked his wife if in her wildest dreams she ever thought he would be governor and that she would be the state's first lady. The governor said his wife gave him a pained look and simply replied, "Sonny, I don't know how to tell you this, but you weren't in my wildest dreams.''
Perdue then touched on how religion plays a part of his governing, even though he said he doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve.
"It influences how I make decisions,'' he said.
Perdue said that when he first became governor the government checkbook was in the red $640 million and he had to balance the budget six months later. Perdue said that during his term the budget has been balanced the past three years and this year there will be a $500 million surplus.
"I'm very proud of the record we've had,'' he said.
Perdue also said that this year the state received $1.25 billion in new revenue, 72 percent of which he said went to education. He also touted state measures against what he called "junk lawsuits'' and the issue of eminent domain.
To close, the governor told the crowd "we've got a lot left to do,'' and then mentioned a former president whose name is on the street that leads to the Evans Government Center.
"I think the reason I like Ronald Reagan was he was an optimist,'' said the governor, adding that he has a similar outlook on the future.
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