The same could be said for another Kemp deputy who applied for the job Thursday – Robyn Crittenden, who runs the state's largest agency.
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Poole built a reputation in state politics as a black conservative who was elected to the top local government job in an overwhelmingly white county. He also offers grassroots connections in law enforcement circles and through county officials, including a stint as head of the Association of County Commissioners in Georgia.
One of 14 children, Poole grew up in Haralson County and graduated from Jacksonville State University across the Alabama border. He joined the Georgia State Patrol in 1983 and, 11 years later, got a close glimpse of state politics working the security detail for Guy Millner, who was running against Democratic Gov. Zell Miller.
Hooked on the idea of campaigning for office, he narrowly lost to a Democrat in 2000 for the post of sole commissioner of Haralson County, the home of legendary Democratic House Speaker Tom Murphy.
His victory four years later against a white candidate in the GOP primary and a white independent in the general election was viewed as a sign of sweeping change in parts of rural Georgia where yellow dog Democrats still dominated.
His campaign mantra then: “I'm a born-again Christian. Most Christians are conservative. Most conservatives are Republican.”
Poole is one of several applicants who applied after Kemp set a deadline for applications for Senate for Monday at 5 p.m., about two months after his unusual decision to invite the public to apply triggered a blitz of resumes from hopefuls.
Though the governor could select a more familiar name – he’s got plenty to choose from – he’s also under pressure to broaden the party’s base by tapping a person of color or someone who doesn’t come from a conventional political background.
Aside from Crittenden and Poole, other top potential contenders are U.S. Rep. Doug Collins; state Rep. Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House; Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, an author and fiscal analyst who is the daughter of the former House speaker.