John Nathan Deal (born August 25, 1942) is a United States politician, the 82nd and current Governor of Georgia. He was originally elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1992 but later switched to the Republican Party in 1995. On March 1, 2010 Deal announced his resignation from Congress to run for governor of Georgia. Deal faced a crowded field of candidates in the July Republican primary but ultimately faced former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel in a tightly contested August 10, 2010 primary runoff election, and won by fewer than 2500 votes. The following day Handel declined to pursue a recount and conceded. On November 2, Democratic opponent Roy Barnes called to concede the race for governor of Georgia, making Deal the governor-elect to succeed term-limited Sonny Perdue in 2011.
Nathan Deal was born in Millen in 1942 and grew up in Sandersville. Both of his parents were teachers. He attended Mercer University in Macon, where he earned his bachelor and law degrees with honors. After he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1966, he went into the United States Army, where he earned the rank of captain. Deal spent 23 years in private law practice.
He was also a criminal prosecutor, a Northeastern Judicial Circuit judge, and a Hall County juvenile court judge. In 1980, he was elected to the Georgia Senate as a Conservative Democrat. In November 1990, he was elected by his party to be the President Pro Tempore, the second highest ranking position in the chamber. Democrat Jane R. Hemmer replaced him, but was defeated by Republican Casey Cagle.
Deal was first elected to Congress in November 1992 as a Democrat, succeeding eight-term incumbent Ed Jenkins in Georgia's 9th congressional district. He was re-elected as a Democrat in 1994. However, on April 11, 1995, shortly after Republicans assumed control of the US House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, Deal joined the Republican Party, which was led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fellow Georgian. Years later, Gingrich said that Deal became a Republican because he liked what he saw in the Contract With America.Deal was handily reelected in his first election as a Republican in the 1996 General Election, even though Jenkins endorsed his Democratic opponent, attorney McCracken "Ken" Poston. This was the first time his district had elected a Republican for a full term since Reconstruction. Deal was unopposed for re-election in 1998, 2002 and 2004 and defeated an underfunded Democratic candidate in 2000. His district was renumbered the 10th District in 2003, but became the 9th again after a mid-decade redistricting in 2006. In November 2006, Deal was re-elected 77%-23%. His Democratic opponent was John Bradbury, a former elementary school teacher turned truck driver. His district, already heavily Republican, became even more Republican after the mid-decade redistricting pushed it further into the Atlanta suburbs.
On March 1, 2010, Congressman Deal announced his intention to resign in order to focus on his campaign for Governor of Georgia.He submitted his resignation to the United States Congress on March 21, 2010 while under investigation for ethics violations by a Federal Grand Jury, who issued a subpoena in within a short span of months thereafter.
The Congressional Ethics investigation resolved that violations were made but Nathan Deal had resigned from the U.S. House before formal accusations were written. Investigation continues.
Governor of Georgia
Deal took office as governor on January 10, the second Monday of 2011, as required by the constitution of Georgia. He became the first Georgia governor to be inaugurated inside the Georgia State Capitol since Herman Talmadge in 1956, due to a major winter storm, the South's worst in years. A daily-record 3.7 inches (9.4 cm) of snow fell the prior evening (nearly three times the monthly average), followed by freezing rain in the morning. Most inaugural events were cancelled, except the Wild Hog Supper, which took place before the storm. Most guests were unable to attend the normally outdoor inauguration, as the chambers are only large enough to house the Georgia General Assembly, which must meet in joint session for the ceremony. Overflow for guests that were able to attend was across the street at the Georgia Freight Depot, where the supper also takes place each year. Almost all state legislators arrived in time, assisted by the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources officers. The previous day, Governor Perdue declared a state of emergency due to the storm, as had governors of other neighboring states to the west.
May 11th, 2011