Bryan Miller is running for a position his late grandfather Zell held for 16 many years.
Photo: Bryan Miller Campaign
The long custom of the descendants of renowned Georgia politicians getting into the household company continued this 7 days when the grandson of the late governor and senator Zell Miller announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor. Bryan Miller, who has been operating the Zell Miller Foundation in the gruff old mountaineer’s title, aspires to the career Zell held for 16 lengthy many years (from 1975 to 1991, when he won his first term as governor). He is a person of a developing field of candidates in equally events, many thanks to the selection of incumbent Republican Geoff Duncan to give up on any reelection bid. (Duncan grew to become a leper in his bash for supporting the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 get in Georgia and then expressing much less than good enthusiasm for the 2021 GOP voter-suppression legislation.)
Like Zell Miller himself, Bryan Miller is a Democrat who would seem to find it straightforward to guidance Republicans now and then: His greatest former political gig was as campaign supervisor in 2012 for Doug Collins, the proper-wing congressman who became a Donald Trump most loved and ran unsuccessfully for the Senate very last calendar year. But now he calls himself a “Joe Biden Democrat.” If his identify was Zell Miller III, he would have likely have inherited his granddad’s nickname of “Zig Zag Zell.”
Miller has to hope he will do superior than several other Democratic scions who have run statewide these days. In 2020 there was Matt Lieberman (son of Joe), who ran in the exclusive U.S. Senate election and irrespective of an early commence and some first rate fund-elevating concluded a poor fifth, much at the rear of fellow Democrat and top winner Raphael Warnock. In 2014 there ended up two incredibly well known very last names on the ballot: Michelle Nunn, a veteran nonprofit govt and a single of nicest people today you’d ever meet, ran for her father Sam’s outdated Senate seat. In the meantime, Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason, who had a extra common qualifications in the state legislature, ran for governor. But 2014 was a terrible year for Democrats everywhere, and Nunn and Carter lost by very identical seven-place margins.
Nunn’s vanquisher was an additional pol with a acquainted name: organization govt David Perdue, cousin of previous governor (and long term Trump administration Secretary of Agriculture) Sonny Perdue. David Perdue dropped to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a person of individuals pivotal January 2021 Ga Senate runoffs.
To discover a effective statewide Democratic chip-off-the-aged-block in Ga politics, you have to go all the way back to the Talmadges, Eugene and Herman. “Ol’ Gene” was a intensely conservative and racist rural demagogue who fought FDR and just about anything approaching liberalism in Georgia. He won four terms as governor, 2 times successful on the electrical power of Georgia’s exceptional county unit technique, a sort of condition-degree electoral vote replica which gave disproportionate power to rural places. But just after his final eager gubernatorial run in 1946, managed by his son and heir Herman, Ol’ Gene died ahead of the inauguration, which manufactured an intensely embarrassing constitutional crisis in which Herman (who technically completed 2nd in the basic election many thanks to some doubtful produce-in votes from Talmadge managed counties where problems about Gene’s heath had been solid), Lieutenant Governor M.E. Thompson and outgoing governor Ellis Arnall all claimed the governorship and tried out to get actual physical management of the condition Capitol. This “three governors” controversy was ended by a court docket buy setting up Thompson as governor, but Herman received a triumphant comeback in 1948, was reelected to a four-12 months expression in 1950, and then received the Senate seat he held till 1980, when after a monetary scandal and very publicized treatments for alcoholism he shed by an eyelash to Republican Mack Mattingly.
Herman’s past hurrah was his 1980 Democratic major runoff acquire around Zell Miller, who had defeat a segregationist qualifications to develop into a favourite of Georgia’s liberals and Black voters — one particular of his famed zigs and zags. Miller would not eliminate another race until he retired 24 several years later. His grandson presumably will test to emulate the sunnier and a lot more thriving aspect of his political legacy.