GA-Governor: A Job for a Legislator?

Supporters of Nathan Deal in the Republican runoff for governor in Georgia say that former legislators make good governors. There's some evidence that they're right.
by | August 10, 2010
 

I learned something from a piece about the Georgia Republican gubernatorial runoff in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

Without mentioning her by name, Jones underlined the fact that Handel could become the first governor in more than 40 years who hasn’t served a term in the Legislature [emphasis mine].

That, to me, is a pretty remarkable 40-year run. It's striking because there's a pretty good case that former legislators make unusually productive governors, at least in terms of persuading their old colleagues in the legislature to pass the bills they want. Mike Beebe in Arkansas and Mark Parkinson in Kansas are two recent examples of that. On the other hand, Georgia's own Sonny Perdue had rocky relations with legislative leaders for several years, although the relationship has been more fruitful lately.

The dynamic the AJC was describing was that most legislators are supporting Deal, a former legislator himself, in today's Republican runoff. On the other hand, supporters of Karen Handel might note that Deal isn't just a former legislator. He's also a current congressman. Lately, former congressmen (Rod Blagojevich, Jim Gibbons) have been among the most scandal-plagued, least-popular governors in the country.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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