I do hate to interrupt the infighting that is known as the Georgia Republican Gubernatorial Primary, but I’d like to reflect a little bit.
We’ve heard from sock puppets of every sort at this point and they all say the other sock puppets are wrong. I think there is a hole in my sock. But beyond the turbulent sea of accusations and innuendos there is a common thread amongst the men and woman destined to be our next Governor: they’ve defied the odds.
For purposes of this post, I will only reach back to the past hundred or so years – but if you are really interested in the subject I would recommend a book by James Cook that details all of Georgia’s Governors. (The Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004, for those of you who are interested)
Roy Barnes: Most of our former Governors have never been ousted from Office. And typically our former Governors who have ran for office after having departed for at least a term have failed to capture the office again. Several have tried, the most recent likely being Lester Maddox and Ellis Arnall. Barnes would join Eugene Talmadge as a “comeback” Governor. Like many former Governors, Barnes is a lawyer.
Nathan Deal: Typically the pathway to the Governor’s mansion has not involved a stint in Congress. Deal is considered more “rural” than the other candidates, which such a description would put him in line with a majority of former Governor’s. Nathan is outside the median age of the average Georgia Governor, however he would not be the oldest elected. Governor Hardman was 71 when first elected – Hardman served two two-year terms, making him 75 when he left office. If elected to two terms, Deal would become the oldest serving Governor as he is presently 68. Deal, like Barnes, is a lawyer.
Karen Handel: Would join only three other Governors as having been not been “Georgia born and raised.” Obviously, she would be the first female elected Governor. She would also be one of a very few of our past Governors who did not have a college degree. Handel has served in County government and as Secretary of State, neither of which present the usual pathway to the Governor’s mansion. She does however fit the typical age profile of our past Governors.
John Monds: Monds has limited political experience, an attribute he shares with Governor Maddox. I don’t recall anyone ever going from a PSC race to the Governor’s race. Monds would also be our first African American Governor as well as our first Libertarian Governor. Monds has never served in the legislature, so like the others he is taking a pathway that is usually not a sure fire way to become Governor.
Whomever wins will have defied some odds along their path to victory, that is for sure. While the deck is stacked more against some – none of these people will be the typical candidate for Governor.