March 11, 2022

Governor Roy Barnes

Governor Roy Barnes

Roy Barnes (D-Mableton) served as the 80th Governor of The State of Georgia from 1999-2003 Barnes is a 1970 graduate of 2021 College Football National Champions The University of Georgia and a 1972 graduate of 2021 College Football National Champions...


Roy Barnes (D-Mableton) served as the 80th Governor of The State of Georgia from 1999-2003

Barnes is a 1970 graduate of 2021 College Football National Champions The University of Georgia and a 1972 graduate of 2021 College Football National Champions The University of Georgia School of Law. 

He was the most recent Democrat to be elected to The Governor’s office, and the last in an unbroken string of members of the Democratic Party to hold the office dating back to The Civil War. He is also currently the only Governor not to be re-elected since the law was changed to allow governors to fill two consecutive 4 year terms in 1974. 

Barnes was the youngest member of the State Senate when he was elected at 26 and served from 1974-1990 from Mableton.

During his tenure in the state senate, Barnes served floor leader to Governor Joe Frank Harris, and was appointed chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

After running unsuccessfully for the nomination for Governor in 1990 - where he came in third in the primary to Zell Miller and Maynard Jackson - he served 6 years in the General Assembly from 1992-1998. 

In 1998 he beat Republican Guy Milner 53-44 to become the 80th Governor of Georgia. 

(Sidebar: This was Milner’s third consecutive statewide race, in which he lost all three! He lost the Governor’s race to Zell in 1994, the Senate to Max Cleland in 1996 and to Roy in 1998) 

He was the most recent Democrat to be elected to The Governor’s office, and the last in an unbroken string of members of the Democratic Party to hold the office dating back to The Civil War. He is also currently the only Governor not to be re-elected since the law was changed to allow governors to fill two consecutive 4 year terms in 1974. 

As Governor, Barnes championed Ethics Reform, Education Reform and Transportation Funding, but his term has always been defined by the controversy surrounding Georgia’s state flag. He accomplished something even Zell Miller couldn’t, and removed the Confederate Battle Flag from Georgia’s State Flag (officially the 1956 flag). Voters punished him dearly for it in 2002, though larger structural issues and party realignment, especially below the gnat line, played a large part in the 02 election. 

According to the February 2004 issue of Georgia Trend, "Democrat Roy Barnes was one of the most powerful governors in history. His nickname 'King Roy' was an affectionate term accorded him by supporters because he knew how to pull the levers and make things happen in the legislature."

In 2003 he was awarded the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Profile in Courage Award link: Roy Barnes | JFK Library

He remains managing partner of The Barnes Law Group