By: Pat Fox, reporter of Georgia Weekly Post
Sen. Fran Millar has represented the north DeKalb area in the State Legislature since 1999. During his 12 years in the House and five years in the Senate, the Dunwoody Republican has seldom faced a serious challenge to his seat.
That may change in 2016. Atlanta-based financial adviser Paul Maner announced in June he will challenge Millar in the Republican Primary a year from now. Maner has already launched his own Web page seeking donations to help get him elected so he can “fix our schools, put people back to work, and improve our overall quality of life.”
Millar currently represents Georgia’s 40th District in the State Senate, a seat he’s held since 2011. The district covers much of metro Atlanta’s conservative heartland: north and northeast DeKalb County and small portions of Fulton and Gwinnett Counties.
A native of New London, Conn., Millar received his BA in economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He works as an insurance broker for Wells Fargo Insurance Services.
Based on legislative voting and scorecard records, Millar is a credentialed conservative and friend to small business. The National Federations of Independent Business presented him with the Guardian of Small Business Award in 2012.
The following year, he was cited by the American Conservative Union as a champion for bills based on conservative principles. He has received an “A+” rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for the past three years and was named Legislator of the Year by that organization in 2014.
The three-term senator has also made his mark in education. During his time in the House, Millar was recognized as Policymaker of the Year by the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education in 2008. He currently sits on the Education and Youth and the Higher Education committees in the Senate.
In the two contested elections since his 2010 election to the Senate, Millar has trounced his Democrat rival by a nearly 2-1 margin. He has also faced primary challenges from fellow Republicans twice, handily defeating his nearest rival by an almost 3-1 margin.
Millar has never accumulated a lavish campaign war chest. In his first election to the House in 1998, he received $100,000 in contributions. He never came close to that number again until 2010 when he first ran for the Senate.
In 2010, he raised $141,000
In his 2010 run for the Senate, Millar faced two challengers in the Republican Primary and a battle with Democrat Eric Christ in the General Election. For this campaign, Millar raised $141,000 which helped him to fairly easy victories. He garnered 63 percent of the vote against two primary opponents and defeated Christ by a 2-1 margin in the General Election.
Millar is not without controversy, and he has already been called out by some conservative groups for his support of the Common Core curriculum in English and math.
Supported Common Core and opposed early voting
Millar told Peach Pundit in 2013: “I am very concerned about the reaction by some citizens to the Common Core. Georgia was a lead state in the development of the Common Core performance standards and there is great alignment with our former Georgia standards. Yes this was a state led initiative and not Obamacore.”
He said setting a standard is one way to establish proficiency, and people who oppose national assessments must be unaware of the Iowa Basic Skills Tests, National Assessment of Educational Progress, SAT and ACT. National standards are one method to prepare Georgia students to compete in the global market, he said.
Another recent controversy brought Millar national attention when he waged a campaign in 2014 to stop DeKalb County government from allowing early voting on a Sunday in late October. He called the move blatantly partisan, aimed at bringing as many Democrats to the polls as possible.
Some of the flack Millar took accused him of racial prejudice, but Miller fired back, saying that as a recipient of the DeKalb County NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Award, he resents people playing the race card on him. If DeKalb had opened Sunday polling only at North Point Mall, then the Democrats would have cried just as loudly, he said.