It was a night of glad-handing, back-slapping and baby-kissing at the Robson Event Center in downtown Gainesville Thursday — a politician’s dream.
“Each year we like to get folks together and thank them for their support and encouragement,” state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, said.
The annual fundraiser for the car salesman-turned-lawmaker brought out the big guns in local and state politics, but nothing big enough to scare Miller off as he made no bones about his intention to seek re-election in 2016.
“You couldn’t get me out (of the race) with a gun,” he said. “I try to take myself very lightly, but my responsibility very seriously.”
For $50, a single guest could pick at finger food, enjoy a drink and chat with Miller. The cost was $100 for a couple, $500 for a patron level, $1,000 for a sponsor title and $2,500 for a host designation.
With hundreds in attendance, that means big money to replenish Miller’s campaign coffers going into next year and beyond.
Debra Pilgrim, who chairs the Hall County Republican Party, said the event brings a lot of attention to local political causes and interests.
It also potentially helps set the stage for the next step in Miller’s career. Some in local politics consider him an early frontrunner in the 2018 race for governor.
“Personally, I hope that (Miller) will go for something bigger down the road,” Pilgrim said. “He has been such an asset since the day he entered office.”
For now, Miller is focused on representing Hall County as a top lawmaker in the Senate.
“The state is moving forward in a great way when you talk about the economy, quality of life, the general well-being of the citizens of Georgia,” Miller said.