He was the first Republican Senator from Georgia since Reconstruction, but he made sure he wouldn’t be the last.
Paul Coverdell was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1939 and moved to Atlanta in his teens. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Coverdell served in the Army and returned to Atlanta to work for the family insurance business. Coverdell became one of the few Republicans in the state Senate when north Fulton County voters elected him in 1970. He spent the next 18 years there as an effective bipartisan leader.
After an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1977, Coverdell set out to strengthen the Republican Party in Georgia. His efforts paid off. President George H.W. Bush appointed him director of the Peace Corps in 1989, and Georgians sent him to the U.S. Senate in 1992. He was serving his second term when he died unexpectedly from a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
One of the architects of the modern Republican Party in Georgia died on July 18, 2000, Today in Georgia History.