Georgia 2018: Begala says Evans reminds him 'why I'm a Democrat'

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

A few decades ago, when Zell Miller was making his first run for governor, the mountain man employed two partners who had done well for another Southern governor: Bill Clinton of Arkansas.

The campaign that James Carville and Paul Begala sketched out for Miller was built around a state lottery that would finance college educations for young Georgians who couldn’t afford it.

On Friday, Begala said he's inspired by another Georgia Democrat running for state office: State Rep. Stacey Evans. In a fundraising letter sent for her campaign, he wrote that "candidates like Stacey remind me why I'm a Democrat in the first place."

There's more:

Thanks to the HOPE Scholarship, Stacey was the first member of her family to attend college. Stacey is exactly why the scholarship came along. Trust me, I know a little something about hope.

Thirty years ago, I met another north Georgian with a vision for the HOPE Scholarship. James Carville & I dropped everything to make sure that man, Zell Miller, was elected governor. Zell will always be remembered as the governor that gave Georgia HOPE. Just a few years later I had a front row seat as a certain boy from Hope, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, inspired a nation. And in 2008, I watched an Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, offer change and hope as a candidate, and deliver it as President.

Evans is running against House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in a race where HOPE expects to figure prominently: Evans said Democrats were betrayed by a 2011 law that slashed funding for the lottery-funded program. Abrams said the scholarship was "dying" and she had little choice to seek a compromise with the GOP to avert deeper cuts.