Republicans who win runoff elections today in three Georgia congressional districts probably can prepare for the next session of Congress beginning in January.
Reps. Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey all eschewed re-election campaigns to run for the Senate, leaving open safely Republican districts where the first-round primaries in May didn’t produce outright winners.
Here’s a look at the three districts. Each capsule description is followed by a district map and the official county-by-county results of the May primary, according to data Political Capital compiled from Georgia election officials. Polls close at 7 p.m. eastern time.
1st District (Savannah, Hinesville, Brunswick). Republican voters will choose either a pharmacist or a doctor to succeed Kingston, who is vying with businessman David Perdue in a Senate runoff election today.
The pharmacist is Buddy Carter, who’s been touting his profession while downplaying his political service as a state senator. All nine of Carter’s broadcast television ads have shown him in his pharmacist’s white coat, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. The public views pharmacists far more favorably than state legislators, according to a Gallup survey.
Carter’s supporters include Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the fourth-ranking House Republican, who donated to Carter’s campaign through her leadership political action committee. Scores of pharmacists across the U.S. donated to Carter’s campaign, as did the PACs of AT&T Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
Dozens of physicians have donated to Carter’s opponent, Bob Johnson, who also has support from limited-government activist groups like the Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project. Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, who lost a bid for House Majority Leader last month, made a political donation to Johnson’s campaign.
10th District (Athens-Clarke County, Milledgeville, Winder). Jody Hice, a radio talk-show host and minister, and Mike Collins, a trucking-business executive, fought to a near-draw in the first-round ballot in the race for Broun’s seat in north-central and eastern Georgia.
Like Broun, both candidates claim ties to the Tea Party movement that wants to curb taxes and regulations and opposes bailouts of large institutions.
“I tell folks all the time, I was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. Tea Party people, we’re just good, common, hard-working people that love our Constitution, that want the government out of our private lives,” Collins, the son of former Republican Rep. Mac Collins, said in a candidate debate.
“I’m a constitutional conservative, and with that, I have drawn quite a bit of endorsements from the Tea Party,” Hice said in the same debate. Hice’s supporters include Gun Owners of America and Citizens United.
11th District (Woodstock, Kennesaw; parts of Marietta, Smyrna and Atlanta). Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk and former Rep. Bob Barr are competing for Gingrey’s district, anchored in suburbs of Atlanta northwest of Georgia’s capital city.
Loudermilk’s backers include Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project, and the PACs of United Parcel Service Inc. and the National Association of Realtors. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the incoming Majority Leader, donated to Loudermilk through his leadership PAC. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Tea Party ally who backed Labrador over McCarthy for majority leader, also is a Loudermilk supporter.
“The only reason I’m running for Congress is because our children and grandchildren deserve a better America than what we’re passing on to them,” Loudermilk said in a candidate debate.
Barr, who represented parts of metropolitan Atlanta from 1995 to 2003, rejoined the Republican party after running for president in 2008 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party. He has said that his eight years of prior House service would be a benefit for district employers including Lockheed Martin.
“We cannot afford a rookie in that job in the next two years,” he said in the candidate debate.