The HOPE Scholarship is becoming an even larger focal point in the race for governor. Former Governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller, the Democrat credited with the scholarship’s creation, has cut an ad in support of Republican Governor Nathan Deal.
In the spot, Miller says “HOPE was a big achievement for Georgia, but when it ran into trouble and headed for bankruptcy, Nathan Deal rose to the challenge.”
“Now, thanks to Nathan, HOPE is available to the next generation.”
The spot also features Dawn Pugh Justus, a HOPE recipient and 1999 University of Georgia graduate.
“HOPE is real, and because Zell Miller created the HOPE Scholarship, I was able to attend the University of Georgia,” she says in part.
The cherished scholarship, and the 2011 changes to it, have flared up as issues in Deal’s bid for re-election against Democrat Jason Carter.
Carter was a vocal opponent of the changes, and at the time instead pushed for an approach that included an income cap on families earning more than $140,000 a year. The Georgia GOP recently attacked him over that point, saying it would inevitably have to be lowered and would cause middle-class families to miss out on the scholarship.
After his campaign first called it a “shameful lie,” Carter earlier this week backtracked on his income cap support, calling it “too blunt of an instrument.” Deal’s campaign and others pounced on it as a flip-flop, but the Democrat’s campaign says the comment echo remarks he made earlier this year.
Miller, a Democrat who has endorsed Republicans in recent years, endorsed Deal in his 2010 campaign and earlier this year. He is splitting his ticket and supporting Michelle Nunn.
A Thursday morning press release from Deal’s campaign stated the ad would hit airwaves statewide today.
You can view the full ad below the fold.