Miller endorses Nunn in Senate race

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He’s been absent from the Georgia political scene for nearly a decade, but Zell Miller surfaced again this week to deliver an endorsement of Michelle Nunn in her Senate race against David Perdue.

Miller’s endorsement was disclosed Thursday in a TV ad rushed out by the Nunn campaign (view it here) in which the former governor and senator says:

Working together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Georgians. That’s how we passed the HOPE Scholarship.

But 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. Michelle Nunn gives this old Georgian hope.

The Nunn campaign promptly sent out a fundraising email to complement the release of the Miller endorsement.

“I am so honored to have former governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller’s support, counsel, and endorsement,” Nunn said. “As I have travelled the state, I have met so many who praise Zell for the Hope Scholarship and his independent spirit.”

Miller’s endorsement of Democratic nominee Nunn came as a bit of a surprise. He’s always been, at least nominally, a Democrat, but during his last years in the Senate Miller swung to the right and found a home among Republicans, endorsing George W. Bush for president and delivering angry, snarling speeches against Democrats like John Kerry.

Miller’s rejection of his old party even formed the basis for his book, “A National Party No More.”

That outspoken support of Republicans outraged Georgia Democrats, whose younger members at one time attempted to have Miller formally drummed out of the party. That didn’t happen, but Miller did get angry letters from former colleagues like Jimmy Carter – and Miller says now he is endorsing Nunn but not Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, in the governor’s race.

Miller retired from the U.S. Senate at the end of 2004 and aside from an occasional appearance on cable news – he once challenged MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to a duel – he’s kept a low public profile in the intervening years. Like Michelle Nunn’s father, Sam Nunn, Miller is not that well known by the younger generation of Georgia voters.

The Nunn commercial reveals that Miller, now 82 years old, has drastically cut his hair so that he’s wearing a crewcut again, a hairstyle that no doubt takes him back to his days as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Miller grew out that crewcut in the 1960s in favor of a more contemporary hairstyle as he progressed through a long political career.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Michelle Nunn , Senate race , Zell Miller