1994 Georgia gubernatorial election

The 1994 Georgia gubernatorial election occurred on November 8, 1994, to elect the next governor of Georgia from 1995 to 1999. Incumbent Democratic Governor Zell Miller, first elected in 1990, ran for a second term. In his party's primary, Miller received three challengers, but easily prevailed with just over 70% of the vote. The contest for the Republican nomination, however, was a competitive race. As no candidate received a majority of the vote, John Knox and Guy Millner advanced to a run-off election. Millner was victorious and received the Republican nomination after garnering 59.41% of the vote.

1994 Georgia gubernatorial election

← 1990 November 8, 1994 1998 →
Nominee Zell Miller Guy Millner
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 788,926 756,371
Percentage 51.1% 48.9%

County results
Miller:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Millner:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Governor before election

Zell Miller

Elected Governor

Zell Miller

The general election was a competitive race between Zell Miller and Guy Millner. Issues such as welfare reform, education, and the removal of the Confederate battle flag from Georgia's state flag dominated the election. On election day, Miller defeated Millner 51.05%-48.95% in the third-closest gubernatorial election in Georgian history – behind only the 2018 and 1966 elections – since Reconstruction due to the strong Republican wave of 1994. Although the state was becoming increasingly more Republican, Democrats would retain the Governor's mansion until 2003. As of 2022, this is the last time Catoosa County voted for the Democratic candidate for governor.

Background edit

Incumbent Governor Zell Miller (D) chose to run for re-election in 1994. Early in his first term, Miller's approval rating fell significantly after attempting to gain legislative support for removing the Confederate battle flag from Georgia's state flag.[1] Miller wanted the Confederate battle flag removed before Atlanta hosted Super Bowl XXVIII and the 1996 Summer Olympics,[2] but backed down in March 1993 after it became apparent that the Georgia House of Representatives would not support this proposal.[3] However, following the same legislative session, Miller's popularity began to recover after bills were passed that initiated his welfare reform proposals. Miller's disapproval promptly decreased to 29% and fell further to 25% about a year later.[1]

A week prior to the scheduled primary elections on July 12, 14 polling locations in the southwestern portion of the state were either underwater or serving as emergency shelters as a result of the disastrous flooding wrought by Tropical Storm Alberto. State officials began discussing delaying the primary elections. However, on July 19, turnout exceeded predictions.[4]

Democratic primary edit

Campaign edit

Despite pledging in 1990 to serve only one term, incumbent Governor Zell Miller announced his re-election bid on June 16, 1993.[5] During the next 12 months, three other Democrats entered the primary, they included perennial candidate Jim Boyd, State Representative Charles "Judy" Poag, and Korean War veteran Mark Tate. Boyd and Poag attacked Miller for attempting to change the state flag and increasing fees for driver's licenses, car tags, and sporting licenses. Miller defended other portions of his record, including the establishment of the Georgia Lottery, the passage of a $100 million tax cut, and a bill proposed that would take a tougher stance on violent criminals. In May 1994, Mark Tate was convicted of attempting defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of $99,000 by falsely claiming he had no other source of income. His sentencing was scheduled for July 19, the day of the primary. However, Tate's name remained on the ballot.[6]

Candidates edit

Results edit

Democratic primary results by county:
  •   Miller—40–50%
  •   Miller—50–60%
  •   Miller—60–70%
  •   Miller—70–80%
  •   Miller—80–90%
  •   Miller—>90%
  •   Boyd—40–50%
  •   Poag—40–50%
  •   Poag—>80%

Miller easily prevailed against the other three Democrats, winning just over 70% of the vote, compared to 17.06% for Boyd, 6.69% for Tate, and 6.23% for Poag. Because Miller received a majority of the votes, he immediately advanced to the general election without a run-off.[7]

Democratic primary results[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Zell Miller (incumbent) 321,963 70.03
Democratic Jim Boyd 78,444 17.06
Democratic Mark Tate 30,749 6.69
Democratic Charles "Judy" Poag 28,623 6.23
Total votes 459,779 100.00

Republican primary edit

Campaign edit

Five Republicans entered to compete for the party nomination, including former State House Minority Leader Paul W. Heard, Jr., former Mayor of Waycross John Knox, Atlanta management consultant Nimrod McNair, businessman Guy Millner, and Tift County developer Leonard Morris. Then-State Senator Johnny Isakson, Miller's 1990 general election opponent, announced his intention to run again on June 16, 1993.[5] However, he apparently withdrew from the race well before the primary in July 1994. Bert Lance, a Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter, predicted a run-off in the Republican primary. He also believed that Miller would face a tougher re-election against Paul Heard, citing his legislative experience and noting that, "Paul knows the state well and has the potential to be a strong candidate." During the primary, Heard pledged to reduce taxes and improve education, while attacking Miller's new prison release program, which, in Heard's opinion, un-incarcerated too many criminals. Similarly, Knox promised to cut income tax by $250 million in his first year in office, reform education, and make prison "hard time". Millner pledged to decrease taxes, make Georgia's education the top-ranking in the Southern United States, reform welfare, and force violent criminals to serve their entire sentence.

Candidates edit

Advanced to runoff edit

Defeated in primary edit

  • Paul W. Heard, Jr., former State House Minority Leader
  • Nimrod McNair, Atlanta management consultant
  • Leonard Morris, Tift County developer

Results edit

Republican primary results by county:
  •   Millner—30–40%
  •   Millner—40–50%
  •   Millner—50–60%
  •   Millner—60–70%
  •   Millner—>70%
  •   Knox—30–40%
  •   Know—40–50%
  •   Knox—50–60%
  •   Knox—60–70%
  •   Knox—70–80%
  •   Knox—80–90%
  •   Knox—>90%
  •   Heard—40–50%
  •   Heard—>50%
  •   Morris—>60%
Republican primary results[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Guy Millner 142,263 47.86
Republican John Knox 84,563 28.45
Republican Paul W. Heard, Jr. 46,761 15.73
Republican Nimrod McNair 20,042 6.74
Republican Leonard Morris 3,592 1.21
Total votes 297,221 100.0

Runoff Results edit

Republican runoff results by county:
  •   Millner—50–60%
  •   Millner—60–70%
  •   Millner—70–80%
  •   Millner—>80%
  •   Knox—50–60%
  •   Knox—60–70%
  •   Knox—70–80%
  •   Knox—80–90%
  •   Knox—>90%
  •   Tie—50%
Republican primary runoff results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Guy Millner 131,280 59.41
Republican John Knox 89,709 40.59
Total votes 220,989 100.0

Polling edit

Source Date Miller (D) Millner (R)
WXIA-TV Nov. 6, 1994 48% 41%

General election edit

Results edit

Georgia gubernatorial election, 1994[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Zell Miller (incumbent) 788,926 51.05% -1.83%
Republican Guy Millner 756,371 48.95% +4.41%
Majority 32,555 2.11% -6.24%
Turnout 1,545,297
Democratic hold Swing

References edit

  1. ^ a b Hana E. Brown. "Policy Context and the Racialization of Welfare Reform". Berkeley, California: University of California, Berkeley. p. 13. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  2. ^ Eric Harrison and Edith Stanley (May 29, 1992). "Georgia Governor Wants to Lower Confederate Flag: South: Under pressure from civil rights groups, he will push for removal of battle cross from state banner". Los Angeles Times. Atlanta, Georgia. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "South's Emblem To Be Retained On Georgia Flag". The New York Times. March 10, 1993. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Flood of 1994, a day-by-day account". The Albany Herald. June 27, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Georgia Governor Breaks Vow Not To Seek 2nd Term". Orlando Sentinel. Atlanta, Georgia. June 18, 1993. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  6. ^ John M. Willis (June 22, 1994). "Lance: Who Will Face Zell?". Calhoun Times and Gordon County News. p. 7. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "1994 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election Results – Georgia". uselectionatlas.org. May 16, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "7/21/98 - Summary". Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns - GA Governor - R Primary Race - Jul 19, 1994". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - GA Governor - R Primary Runoff Race - Aug 9, 1994". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  11. ^ "1994 Governor". Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.

External links edit