In Dunwoody’s legislative races, Election Night proved to be a good night for incumbents.

State Sen. Fran Millar

Sen. Fran Millar and Rep. Tom Taylor both overwhelmed challengers from within their own party in the May 24 Republican Primary.

Millar, a veteran lawmaker who has served in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, drew about four of every five votes cast in his race with Paul Maner for the Republican nomination to the District 40 Senate seat, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.

“I’m gratified,” said Millar, who will face Democrat Tamara Johnson-Shealey in the November general election.

Taylor claimed about two-thirds of the vote to defeat Tom Owens in the race for House District 79. No Democrat filed to fun for the seat.

A former Dunwoody City Council member and early advocate for the creation of the city, Taylor faced a new kind of challenge in the election after his April 7 arrest in Clayton, Ga., on a charge of driving under the influence.

Taylor was stopped for driving 72 miles per hour in a 45-miles-per-hour zone. He had four teenagers in his SUV, police said, and his blood alcohol content measured .225; the legal limit is .08.

“I had a self-inflicted wound” to overcome, Taylor said Election Night.

Tom Taylor

Taylor said he knew he had lost support from some voters because of the DUI charge and the facts surrounding his arrest, but that the arrest had been a “catalyst” that forced him to confront his use of alcohol. “It’s something I have to deal with,” he said.

“I’ve struggled with alcohol for several years,” he said. “You try to deal with it on your own and something like this is a wake-up call. I’m not happy that I’ve been charged with something, but it was a cathartic event.”

He said he was pleased with the support shown him by the voters. “I’m just happy the people of my district trust me to do the job.”

Millar attributed the size of his victory to the kinds of campaigns he and his opponent waged.

“If you put out a positive message, I think that’s the main thing,” he said. “What are you going to do and what have you done?”

He said he thought Maner had constantly been on the attack during the campaign and that, because of the presidential campaign, voters are tired of attacks.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.