Politics & Government

Kirby Smart visits Georgia Capitol

Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart addresses the large crowd at the Macon Towndown Club jamboree Monday.
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart addresses the large crowd at the Macon Towndown Club jamboree Monday. wmarshall@macon.com

ATLANTA -- If the Georgia Legislature decided on the U.S. president, Kirby Smart would probably finish ahead of Republican candidate John Kasich.

The head coach of the University of Georgia football team and the governor of Ohio crossed paths at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday. Both addressed the House and Senate, but the coach got more applause.

The coach spoke to the Senate for about a minute, thanking his colleagues at UGA for all the support since his arrival in December.

"We are excited going forward. We're in a great place. We're trying to unite the Dawg Nation," Smart said.

He also drummed up support for an April 16 scrimmage.

"We're looking forward to our G-Day game," Smart said. "We're trying to get 93,000 out there for that game, so we'll need everybody to be there for it."

The bipartisan photo lines took longer than the speech as Smart spent 15 or 20 minutes to grip and grin with legislators on both sides of the building.

As for Kasich, he definitely has supporters among high-ranking lawmakers. But with five contenders for the Republican presidential nomination vying for Georgia votes ahead of the March 1 primary, the Republican nation remains much less united than the Dawg Nation.

To contact reporter Maggie Lee, e-mail mlee@macon.com.

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