Just a few months after announcing his intention to become the Senate majority leader in the Georgia General Assembly next year, Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, is now switching his focus to a higher position in the halls of the state legislature.
Miller told The Times on Tuesday he is running to unseat Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer of Duluth.
If successful, Miller would become the highest-ranking elected state senator.
The president pro tem is officially the No. 2 spot in the state Senate, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville, serving as the president.
Miller said the president pro tem position gives him broader responsibility and the chance to not only work across the political aisle to find common cause with Democrats, but also to have sway in the House of Representatives.
The Senate majority leader, meanwhile, acts as the party spokesman, cheerleading for causes and rallying support among lawmakers to get bills passed or defeated.
Miller said he was encouraged to seek the president pro tem post after receiving several phone calls from allies and supporters voicing their desire for a change in leadership.
However, Miller admits getting the position is no easy task.
“It’s a hill to climb,” he said, adding two other candidates are also vying to unseat Shafer. “It’s a challenge.”
Miller said Republicans would likely cast their vote for majority leader and president pro tem in the next week in a secret ballot.
“I want to be in a position where I can best serve the 49th District and the people of Georgia,” Miller said.