Atlanta--With only hours left before voters decide which candidates will advance to the next round, John Oxendine spent time inside that venerable Atlanta political institution called the Varsity.
Amidst the hot dogs, fries, and hamburgers, the state insurance and fire safety commissioner tried to play a game of catchup. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel has been surging.
Polls have shown the Oxendine campaign numbers dropping over the last 5 weeks. Mr. Oxendine has been the target of ethics questions and campaign tactics. He has also found himself in the crosshair of both print and television reporters.
11Alive reporter Jeff Hullinger asked the candidate if he thought he had been treated fairly.
"I think the media has definetely made me a target because I am the conservative reform candidate. Whoever is the most conservative is going to be the punching ball of the media."
One year ago Mr. Oxendine's polling numbers were in the 50's, one month ago the 30's and now some polls show his numbers in the low 20's.
Hullinger asked if he regretted the strategy and the direction of the campaign over the last 5 weeks.
Mr. Oxendine said, " we're contenders. We are going to be the nominee. We're looking good.
In June, the candidate told Hullinger- - the campaign was evolving into that of the front runner. The Oxendine campaign became more selective in it's audiences plus it's use of social media, and most of the time bypassed reporters entirely.
As to whether salvos from opponents Karen Handel and Nathan Deal have stuck, Mr. Oxendine told Hullinger.
"I think we'll see who comes out on top and I'm in the runoff."
Most polls show a tight race between Karen Handel, John Oxendine, and Nathan Deal. Eric Johnson is also showing well with double digit numbers. The undecided will determine the outcome
Mr. Oxendine added, " The voters want John Oxendine to be their governor."