I'm going back to Congress, Congress, Congress. I'm going back to Congress... I don't think so.
When candidate qualifying ended Friday, 9th District Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) had drawn four (4) challengers in the GOP primary—and one of those who needs love is former congressman Paul Broun. Will he knock out Collins?
Collins obviously is worried about Broun, as he’s already running radio ads arguing that Broun isn’t an around-the-way congressman, although Broun is known and liked in the mountains, having represented them before the 2012 redistricting. (Broun recently moved his official residence from Oconee County in the 10th to Clarksville in the 9th.) There’s also a federal grand jury investigation into Broun’s alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for campaigning and an unfinished congressional ethics investigation. Meanwhile, Broun is casting himself as an “outsider” who’s “not a career politician”—though, as Collins has pointed out, that’s not by choice; Broun’s been running for office since 1990.
Collins is very conservative; however, he’s not a fire-breather like Broun, who’s prone to making provocative claims about Democrats in general and President Obama in particular—they’re socialists, they’re dictators, they’re setting up concentration camps, etc. And Collins has on occasion voted in ways the tea party doesn’t like.
Collins has no Democratic opposition, and Broun’s successor, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, has no opposition at all in the 10th. Neither district is even remotely winnable for a Democrat, so it’s probably for the best that no one is wasting their time or money.
At the state level, Reps. Regina Quick (R-Athens), Spencer Frye (D-Athens) and Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville) are unopposed. Sens. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) both drew primary opponents. Cowsert will face Patricia Daugherty, a retired educator from Bishop, and Ginn will face Tyler Hollifield, an Athens student and veteran.
In local races, I’m sorry to say there won’t be a lot of excitement. Incumbent ACC commissioners Harry Sims, Allison Wright, Jerry NeSmith, Jared Bailey and Mike Hamby and school board members Vernon Payne and Charles Worthy escaped without challengers. Thinc UGA director Jared Bybee is the only candidate for the open District 4 seat, leaving District 8—between UGA geography professor John Knox and lawyer Kamau Hull—as the only contested school board race. That’s a surprise, considering the uproar over the Clarke County School District’s handling of the alleged sexual assault at Cedar Shoals High School.
The only other contested local race is for tax commissioner, where lawyer, planning commissioner and former county commission candidate Dave Hudgins will face Toni Meadow, incumbent Mitch Schrader’s deputy, in the Democratic primary. Schrader isn’t running again for health reasons.