Originally created 05/25/04

Governor urges Georgians to vote for 'American Idol' finalist

ATLANTA -- Gov. Sonny Perdue is urging Georgians to support "American Idol" finalist Diana DeGarmo by watching Tuesday's finale and casting a vote for her by telephone.

"I think history will judge me as a man who was neutral in 'American Idol' competitions when decorum called for it, but now the rubber is hitting the road. I am standing by Diana DeGarmo," Perdue said in a statement Monday.

He signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday as "Dial for Diana DeGarmo Day." The proclamation was accompanied by detailed voting instructions.

DeGarmo, 16, of Snellville, Ga., and Fantasia Barrino, 19, of High Point, N.C., will sing three songs each on the finale of the popular FOX (WFXG-TV, Channel 54) TV show.

Fans will have four hours after the show to cast votes by phone. The winner will be announced Wednesday night.

Some members of DeGarmo's family will be at the governor's mansion with about 200 friends and neighbors to watch the live broadcast, said Dan McLagan, the governor's spokesman.

DeGarmo has enjoyed strong local support throughout the competition.

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