Posted: 5:59 pm Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Zell Miller endorses Michelle Nunn for Senate, but Nathan Deal for governor 

By Jim Galloway

Former governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller on Thursday endorsed Democrat Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Senate race, citing her bipartisan approach as an antidote for Washington gridlock.

But lest you Democrats get too excited: Miller said he fully intends to vote for Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who is locked in a tough re-election bid with Democrat Jason Carter, grandson of the former president.

In a morning phone call from his Young Harris, Ga., home, the 82-year-old Miller cited Nunn’s work as the head of a major volunteer organization – founded by former President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.

“I have great respect for her dedication to public service, and her dedication to bipartisan results,” Miller said. “I think she shares a lot of characteristics with her father.”

Miller’s years as governor largely coincided with U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn’s final years in office. “I’ve known her since she was born,” Miller said. That was in 1966.

Despite his absence from the political scene, Miller still has a strong following in Georgia, especially among older and more conservative voters. What endorsements he’s made since his 2005 departure from the U.S. Senate have gone primarily to Republicans.

The Nunn campaign is taking immediate advantage of Miller’s endorsement with a TV ad blitz – to counter a $2.5 million televised attack by the National Republican Senate Committee, denouncing her as “Obama’s senator.” In the TV spot above, Miller says:

“I’m so angry about what’s going on in Washington, partisanship over patriotism – they can’t stop themselves. But we can stop them. Let’s send Michelle Nunn to the Senate. She’s a bridge-builder, not a bridge-burner.”

Only after he had finished extolling Nunn did Miller emphasize that he would stick with a fellow mountaineer in the down-ticket race.

“I’m going to be voting for Nathan for re-election as governor,” said Miller, noting that the Republican had been saddled with serious economic problems when he took office in 2011.

“I respect the manner in which he’s conducted himself addressing those problems,” Miller said. Specifically, Miller cited Deal’s effort to shore up the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program – which Miller established.

Miller’s split-ticket endorsement could make his backing of Nunn more valuable, not less – given that her Republican rival, David Perdue, can’t belittle it without also hurting Deal.

Miller’s gravitation toward Nunn rather than Carter could have its roots in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, when Zell Miller, Sam Nunn and Jimmy Carter all wielded outside influence well beyond state lines.

Miller and Carter scarcely crossed paths when it came to state government service in the 1970s. Miller was first sworn in as lieutenant governor in 1975, as Carter exited the governorship and began concentrating on his run for the White House.

By contrast, Miller and Nunn, as governor and senior U.S. senator, respectively, overlapped for five years in the 1990s, said Steve Anthony, a Georgia State University political scientist who served as chief of staff to state House Speaker Tom Murphy during that period.

“[Miller] had a professional relationship with Nunn that he didn’t have with Carter,” Anthony said.

Gordon Giffin was a top aide to Sam Nunn before becoming U.S. ambassador to Canada. He is now chairman of the Michelle Nunn campaign. Here’s a note Giffin sent describing some Zell Miller-Sam Nunn history:

Nunn and Zell ran together in 1990 as the first real “coordinated campaign.” They were similar in that they were by nature independent in their perspectives — get it done for those you represent and the country unrelated to party or ideology. In December 1991, they co-hosted one of the first major fund raisers for Bill Clinton at the Ritz in Atlanta. They agreed that a Southern moderate should lead the country. Today, they agree again….

Perhaps more to the point, while Miller and Carter may not have intersected that much in the ’70s, their more recent shared history has been less than neutral.

Miller alienated many Democrats when he endorsed the re-election of President George W. Bush from the stage of the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Jimmy Carter was among them. Afterwards, in a two-page missive, the former president blasted Miller for his “rabid and mean-spirited speech.”

“By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust,” Carter wrote in the letter sent to Miller, who was then in his last months as a U.S. senator appointed by Gov. Roy Barnes.

Miller responded just as bluntly, in an AJC op-ed published after his presidential candidate won re-election:

“Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton hummed the tune but never really sang the song, and that’s why Democrat prospects have gone south in the South.”

Miller dropped out of sight after he left the Senate, re-emerging only two years ago to endorse Doug Collins in his successful Republican race for Congress. The Collins campaign was managed by the former governor’s son, Bryan Miller.

Since then, Miller has quietly reached out to many of those he feuded with in the old days to make peace — including Bill Shipp, the former AJC political columnist.  But we don’t know that the Miller-Carter bridge has been rebuilt.

178 comments
lechat
lechat

Maybe Zell just remembers that people still like Sam Nunn, but nobody likes Jimmuh Carter.  The rest of us know that a vote for Nunn is a vote for Obama and Reid.

jwh
jwh

Sorry, but Zell is looking somewhat senile in that commercial for the one who calls herself  Nunn. Not much of an endorsement.  I'd rather have a tree endorse me. 

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

I have nothing against Nunn personally but this is a U.S. Senate race with immense stakes. So why not draft a candidate who could run an effective, high pressure campaign? Someone with crossover appeal who at least makes an effort to excite the base?


I almost feel sorry for Michelle because she's an absolute lightweight. Perdue is beatable but she's not the one to get it done. And her campaign is literally imploding in front of our eyes. Its a shocking scene, and her staff doesn't have enough collective sense to try and conceal any of it.


In Nunn's looming loss, there is a teaching moment, an opportunity for clarity from within the power structure of the Democratic Party of Georgia: Listen to the people. Stop choosing candidates the way the GOP does because Dems aren't always impressed with family pedigree. 


A lesson Hillary learned in 2008.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Maybe Zell feels sorry for Michelle " I don't have " Nunn ( experience that is ) since her Grandmother died and left her with no one to learn anything from.

SEP-AU
SEP-AU

Leave it to Zaney Zell.  He does the right thing by endorsing Michelle Nunn and then he reinforces his nutball status by backing the Bad Deal.  I guess sometimes he feels like a nut and sometimes he don't. 

SamTheSham
SamTheSham

Zig Zag across party lines.  And the beat goes on.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Dey is only 2 times I regret muh votin!  dat when dem White folks let me. Dey always tried ta stop me when I wus younger wit dem Test! Dey always come up wit sumpin ta try ta stop Black folks from doin dey Civic Duty. Now dey tell me I gots ta have a Gouberment ID. dese is de same folks dat sey Yew cant trust de Guberment. 


It seems ta me if anybody yer cant Trust is DEM! its always SUmpin with dem Folks. I wish dey stop playin dey games and come rite out an say how dey feel. We don't want NO Colored, Gay, Spanics and Brown Folks Votin!  We jest dont lack it! 


If dey say dem words I an muh friends would have MO respect for wat dey say. But dey like ta play games an den say WHO ME?


anyways dem two votes I regret was Zell for Governor. If Andy had not been in de pockets of dem Preachers and got behind dat Lottery, meybe he would not be sellin Lies Ta Day!  Andy cant be trusted at ALL! I knows he old but he cant be Trusted! Jest like former Mayor Shirley Franklin, yer gots ta keep an EYE on dat one. WE knows about dat Baby makin Kasim....ya cant trust him no farther dan you can see him...even wit dat he may try ta FOOL Yer!

de other Vote was fer dat LIE-BER-MAN!  He jest like Zell and Hillary!

All Snakes in de Grass.

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

This is a resounding and game changing endorsement.

partlycloudy
partlycloudy

Zell never could make up his mind.  he grew up dirt poor in north GA.  Then he became a moderate governor.  The republicans I worked with hated Zell for backing Clinton.  But when Zell ran for senate, he became a right wing idiot.  He never could make up his mind.  I'd voted for him when he ran for governor, but decided he had changed his course too much when he ran for the senate.  

Weird choices.  I don't understand why he'd back Deal who is not so honest.  I guess those north GA mountain rednecks stick together??????

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

Michelle Nunn is going to look back on this campaign one day and absolutely hate herself for the clumsy manner in which it was ran, and the blatant and silly manner in which she alienated her base. Then again, maybe she doesn't care, which could be the point of it all. But whatever her mindset is, sharing a photo-op with Kasim Reed does not equate to reaching out to the base.

And playing political footsie with a long forgotten generation of political relics isn't endearing her the support of younger voters--the same voters whom she'll need in a few years when she tries to run for something else after Perdue unfortunately clobbers her in this election.

Memo to Michelle: Democrats don't like Zell Miller, George Bush (take your pick) or any of these other old folks from the GOP's vanguard era. Dems could care less. And no matter what she does, she won't get enough GOP votes to replace all the Dem voters she's turning off with these ridiculous tactics.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Lawd, Lawd  dere is sumpin in de water fer sure. The Curse of de ole Zig Zag Zell is Back. Sumpin tells me ole Zell is preparin to meet ole Saint Pete an he jest trying ta get thangs strait befor he GO!

Michelle, Jest walk away from dis one. Dis is jest another one of dem old head politicans yer need ta stay away from. Zell is POISON!! He don't mean yer no Good! Ole Zig Zag jest wan his name in print one MO time fore he Go. He thanking of wat he has done to democracts in Georgia and he jest want ta make amends. 

No Thanks Zell. Stay where yer is. On de other side where yer been all dis time. We don't need no Yell chickin Traitor like yew NO MO! 

Ya done burned dat bridge long ago! 

We wish yer happy trails on yer new adventure...ya better be worried bout ya SIns. Cause dey goin find yew sooner rather dan later.

Leave Our Girl Michelle out of yer Sly Plans whatever dey is. Because we knows yew is like dat Hillary...A Snake in de GRASS!

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

A worthless endorsement from a bitter old man who accomplished hardly anything for Georgia. His lasting legacy: That he didn't have enough balls to stand firm in what he believed in, instead, dramatically shifting to the right when it became politically popular to do so. And need I remind anyone that Miller was a full throttle supporter of Bush's war against Iraq?

Michelle is stuck on nostalgia, why is why I suppose she resurrected this medieval creature in order to get his endorsement. Maybe its time she looked forward, and actually made an effort to reach out to her own base instead of hyper-pandering to the aging crowd of yesteryear Georgia politics.

Either that or run as a Republican.

notagain
notagain

In TD's mind the only measure is how rich in $ you are.....Typ.rethug.

PeteScott
PeteScott

My daughter has the cutest little Yorkshire Terrier ever.

She's not speaking to me this morning.

Mad at me.

I told her Mary Martin (Nunn's real name) is about as qualified to run for U.S. Senator as her Yorkie.


She is upset that I insulted her dog so badly.

davesbrain
davesbrain

Sorry, Zell, but candidate nunn is a cardboard cutout behind which is hiding the likes of Pelosi, reid and Obama.  You empower nunn, you empower those failed leaders.

FSB22
FSB22

Glad to see the honorable Zell Miller looking good in his 80's. I am a registered Republican however I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Zell and regardless of the naysayers he did a lot of good for the state of Georgia. It is a crying shame there is no longer room for a conservative democrat in the democratic party these days. As a matter of fact the term conservative democrat these days is an oxymoron; the democratic party of today is run by socialists and liberals only; no room for conservative Southern democrats anymore!

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Sure wish he wasn't past being in office himself.  One of the last great cross political divide politicians.  Can't think of another politician who has done more for this great state.

BannedPoster
BannedPoster

Good for Zell.  If he feels she has earned his endorsement, then so be it.  I won't be going along with it and will be voting for her opponent.  I'm not going to trash him because he was a great Governor and a good Senator.  Most people go to Washington and serve in the Senate and forget about their state.  Zell didn't and he has earned the respect from me for that. 

Observant1
Observant1

I love Zell Miller but we part company on his endorsement of Michelle Nunn Whatserface.  I don't care how much like her daddy she may or may not be--that is not the overriding issue in this campaign. A vote for her is a vote for keeping Harry (the Weasel) Reid in charge of the Senate!  It doesn't matter how "non-partisan" Nunn  may be...she can't cross the aisle to vote for a common sense measure that Reid never allows to come to a vote.  And I have no doubt that on issues that are decided strictly along party lines, she would vote with her party.  This election is one of the most important--if not THE most important--in history. We are stuck with Barack Obozo for two more years, but we can mitigate the damage already done and stop him from inflicting further pain on our citizens by electing a Republican majority to both houses of congress in November!

Chris30338
Chris30338

I don't know if an endorsement from Zell Miller is necessarily a good thing. The guy was  pretty unstable years ago and by now is probably certifiable.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@jwh - Ain't no Looking. Senile Old Zig Zag Zell is rounding Third Base and not far from the home Plate. Sam Nunn's folks thinks pulling old Zig Zag Zell out was some kind of Grand Get. This goes to show where their thinking is. Stuck in the ole Georgia Good ole Boy game. To have ole Zig Zag Zell to come tap dancing out and then French Kiss Nathan was not planned, thought about or even considered as a possibility. Zell has always been Known to pull such stunts when the Lights of the camera goes on. For some reason it animates Zig Zag to know he is on TEEVEE and in the News again.


Let's face it. We have (2) TWO Awful candidates to choose from in November for Hollywood Zaby's Seat. One who is Weak and unsure of where she stands and fearful of offending. The other is a clone of Mitt Romney and a Robot Money making machine that is interested ONLY in his own Pocketbook and cannot be TRUSTED to look out for the welfare of the People of Georgia.

honested
honested

@SEP-AU 

It's a shame when someone who did a moderately good job, albeit a long time ago, lacks the comprehension to know it's time to bow out gracefully.

4williec
4williec

@partlycloudy  Yeah, but you can manage to understand why he endorses Nunn....okay, right.

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

@partlycloudy  I respect Miller for backing the person he thinks is best suited for the job over the party.  The fact that he does not tow the party line gives his opinions credibility in my mind.

PeteScott
PeteScott

@Bernie31 


Your grasp of the English language is on the same level as your political leaning.

Both laughable.

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

@SouthernDem  If she followed your advice, this campaign would be a waste of time and certain to fail.,

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

@PeteScott  Personal attack on a woman running for office.  Imagine that from the Tea party gang.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@PeteScott - Yer DAWG is bout as STUPID as Yew! Cause he sed any thang he would Be on TEEVEE! dats jest dem voices in dat empty Head of Your'n talkin at Ya!


If dey tell ya ta do sumpin Crazy...don't Listen...cause its Satan talkin ta YA!


But from de sounds of it...yer probably goin to Vote fer dat Georgia Plant closin layin off en Firing Gold Parachute wearing I am bout ta jump and leave de rest of ya'll ta drown Chinese people Loving David I got a bad temper PERDUE!

Kamchak
Kamchak

@PeteScott 

Mary Martin (Nunn's real name)

Liz Cheney and Elaine Chao both say, "What?"

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@davesbrain Someone from Jack Kingston's campaign you are proof positive that David Perdue is a hoarder by continuing to hold on to worthless people from failed campaigns.

MoFaux
MoFaux

@davesbrain As opposed to empowering failed leaders like John Boehner and turtle-man?  Yawn.

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

@FSB22  You are just restating what you are told.  Facts do not support any of that.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@FSB22 - Ole Zig Zag needs ta da Do dem Depends Commercials...cause he is all over de place wit dem endorsements of his. Zell say Vote fer Michelle and den vote fer de Yella teeth Governor TOO!

Ain;t DAT Crazy? 

But dat is how ole Zig Zag Zell been of of his democrat hatin Life!

RLSmith
RLSmith

@FSB22 There are conservative democrats,  Problem is they put party before country.  That is a shame.  Trust me, Michelle Nunn would vote straight party line.  The bottom line - the Senate has to be controlled by someone other than the liberal democrats.  I'll take a libertarian majority over the Harry Reid crowd.

MoFaux
MoFaux

@Observant1 Ah yes, the old "good vs. evil" tripe.  Fear mongering.  It's the end of the world if a Democrat wins.  Utter BS.  Please explain to me in specifics how Mitt Romney would have saved the world, scared Putin into submission, brought us immediately out of the recession with the snap of his fingers and inspired his God to create non-homosexual rainbows across the skies in America.  Please stop with the blind demagoguery.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@Observant1 This isn't the most important election in history.  Get back with me in 5 years, and no matter who wins, tell me what is different.

Derwin0
Derwin0

@Chris30338 He's the most popular politician in the State, I'd say it's a good thing.

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

@Bernie31 Oh my, we agreed on an issue? Hmmm, I guess this truly is the end of times.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@PeteScott @Bernie31 - Ye know yer ain't too Brite yer self supportin dat Yella Teeth unethical Po People Child hatin insurance denying Governor!

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

@CarterCollins  I have nothing against Nunn personally but this is a U.S. Senate race with immense stakes. So why not draft a candidate who could run an effective, high pressure campaign? Someone with crossover appeal who at least makes an effort to excite the base?


I almost feel sorry for Michelle because she's an absolute lightweight. Perdue is beatable but she's not the one to get it done. And her campaign is literally imploding in front of our eyes. Its a shocking scene, and her staff doesn't have enough collective sense to try and conceal any of it.


In Nunn's looming loss, there is a teaching moment, an opportunity for clarity from within the power structure of the Democratic Party of Georgia: Listen to the people. Stop choosing candidates the way the GOP does because Dems aren't always impressed with family pedigree. 


A lesson Hillary learned in 2008.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@RLSmith @FSB22 " Trust me, Michelle Nunn would vote straight party line."


Since you can predict the future, why haven't you won the lottery and blog here?

PeteScott
PeteScott

@jarvis1975 @Observant1

One slight thing.


President Perdue will be at the Fox Theatre for the premiere of the new movie "Mr. Perdue Goes to Washington".

Bernie31
Bernie31

@davesbrain @MoFaux - Turtle Head is Mitch McConnel cause He look lack a dat gum Turtle in de Face.

uh..huh.