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Editorial: Of Republican candidates, Miller has best experience, personality for state’s No. 2 job
Butch Miller
Butch Miller

Early voting for Georgia’s May 24 primary is under way and the first few days of casting ballots resulted in record numbers doing so. That such is the case would suggest there is a lot of interest in this midterm election cycle, and that a lot of voters like the convenience of casting ballots in advance of the traditional Election Day.

The primary features Republicans and Democrats hoping to win their respective party’s nomination to secure a spot on the November General Election ballot. Along with statewide positions, every seat in the state’s General Assembly, every member of Congress and a U.S. Senate seat are on the ballot this year, along with local races such as county commission and school board.

To say the election is an important one is an understatement. Once considered solidly conservative and Republican, the 2020 election showed Georgians increasingly willing to vote for more liberal Democratic candidates, including giving President Joe Biden a majority of the state’s presidential votes. Whether that will prove to be a trend or a blip on the political screen will be determined by the outcome of this year’s balloting.

One important choice to be made in the Republican primary election is the selection of a nominee for the office of lieutenant governor, which is an “open” position given the decision by incumbent Geoff Duncan not to seek re-election. We hope Georgians across the state will rally around the candidate of Gainesville’s Butch Miller for that important position.

While it would be easy to support Miller out of favoritism for a native son candidate, the fact is, he is the best qualified among those on the Republican ballot and the candidate most likely to be able to lead the state in a positive manner through whatever political turbulence may ensue after this year’s election cycle has ended.

The office of the lieutenant governor comes with a couple of unique caveats in Georgia. The first is that the governor and the lieutenant governor do not run for office together as a “ticket,” so it is possible to have a lieutenant governor from one party and a governor from another.

Secondly, the lieutenant governor is the leader of the state senate, but also derives authority and power from those senators who are led by the office. If a lieutenant governor runs afoul of the body, it can strip the office of authority, leaving it little more than a figure head.

Miller has shown himself to be an unabashedly conservative state senator but has a personality that should help him work with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. If the state’s legislative body becomes more diverse in this year’s elections, having someone in a top leadership position who can work with liberals and conservatives alike is going to be more important than has been the case in recent years. We are convinced Miller can do that.

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There’s no questioning Sen. Miller’s conservative qualifications. He has been at the forefront in advocating for legislation on a host of issues important to conservative voters – reducing taxes, increased parental input in public education, election reform, school choice, support for public safety, etc. If it’s an important part of the Republican agenda, odds are Miller has introduced legislation to address it during his tenure as a member of the senate. Unlike some in that body, he has been active in sponsoring and passing many pieces of important legislation.

We particularly like his support for elimination of the state income tax and hope that effort gains traction once viable funding sources are identified to offset lost revenue in the state coffers.

Beyond the high profile conservative issues, Miller is a steadfast supporter of measures to help Georgia businesses succeed. A small business owner himself, the candidate understands the importance of a trained and available workforce, elimination of governmental red tape and realistic business tax structures. There’s no doubt that Miller would be good for the state’s economic outlook if he were in the lieutenant governor’s office.

Having served as president pro tem of the state Senate in recent years, Miller has been a major player in much of the legislation that has been passed by the General Assembly and understands the inner workings of that body. He is well prepared to move into the office of lieutenant governor.

Beyond politics, those familiar with Butch Miller know he is a good and respected supporter of the community in which he lives who is willing to donate his time and money to many worthwhile causes; a personable and friendly neighbor always willing to help; and a charismatic holder of public office who works hard for those he serves.

Recent polling in the Republican race for lieutenant governor shows that huge numbers of potential voters are still “undecided” in that particular race. We would encourage them all, as well as all those who will be voting in the GOP primary, to examine the candidacy of Butch Miller and to cast a ballot for his nomination.