Nathan Deal was the eighty-second governor of Georgia and served two terms, from 2011-2019. His election continued the statewide trend toward support for the Republican Party, signaled in 2002 by the election of his predecessor, Sonny Perdue, who was the first Republican governor to serve in Georgia since Reconstruction.
John Nathan Deal was born in Millen, the seat of Jenkins County, on August 25, 1942, to Mary Mallard and Noah J. Deal, both educators. He was raised in Washington County and graduated from Mercer University in Macon, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1964 followed by a law degree in 1966. After completing law school, Deal served for two years as a captain in the U.S. Army and then entered into private practice as an attorney. In 1970 he became an assistant district attorney in northeast Georgia, and the following year he received his first judicial appointment, serving as a juvenile court judge in Hall County until 1972.
Deal won his first elected office as a Democrat in 1980 and served in the Georgia state senate from 1981 to 1993. In 1993 he entered the U.S. Congress as a Democratic representative from Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District, and on April 10, 1995, he changed his party affiliation to Republican. Deal served nine terms in the U.S. Congress before resigning to run for governor of Georgia in March 2010. He secured the Republican nomination in August 2010 and won the general election in November of that year, defeating former Georgia governor Roy Barnes. He was reelected in 2014. Deal was succeeded by Republican and former secretary of state Brian Kemp.
Deal is married to Sandra Dunagan, a native of Gainesville and a graduate of Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville (as was Deal’s mother). The couple has four children: Jason, Mary Emily, Carrie, and Katie.