ATLANTA-- Based on his name alone, a political novice who qualified for office Friday may just have a shot at winning statewide office this year. His name is Chris Irvin. The Democrat is running for Commissioner of Agriculture -- the office his grandfather, Tommy Irvin, held for 40 years.

"I believe it's important to return the representation my granddaddy had," said Irvin, a Toccoa businessman. "He was in close contact with the whole state in agriculture. He was a very responsive individual."

Tommy Irvin, a Democrat, left office four years ago. He was succeeded by Republican Gary Black, who is seeking re-election.

Chris Irvin is the fourth legacy candidate to appear on the statewide ballot this year in Georgia.

David Perdue, the cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue, announced last summer he would seek the Republican nomination for US Senate.

The same month, Michelle Nunn announced she'd run as a Democrat for the same office. She's the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn.

And Sen. Jason Carter is running for Governor, a Democrat who is the grandson of former Governor and President Jimmy Carter.

The lineage doesn't impress everybody. "Every time the press mentions (Carter's) name, they tack on his ancestry," said Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday. "And I don't think that's what's important. I think a candidate ought to stand on their own footing."

Carter, Nunn, Irvin and Perdue would agree with Deal; all have positioned themselves independently of their famous kinfolk. Their supporters say the family name is mostly a financial asset.

"It helps (them) raise money in a national way that would be difficult otherwise," said Dubose Porter, chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party. Porter was speaking specifically of Carter and Nunn.

"I'm my own man. I am not my grandfather," Irvin emphasized Friday. But at the same time, he acknowledged that his name is his biggest political asset as he seeks to win his first election.

Read or Share this story: http://on.11alive.com/1fjIn2i