Open congressional seats are treated almost as valuable as gold here in Georgia.
Each of the state’s 14 congressional districts are so treasured that when an election has no incumbent then you can bet there will be a large number of contenders, whether serious or not. Such will be the case next year when the 10th Congressional District, covering part of Newton County, will have numerous contenders vying for a spot in Washington, D.C.
Jody Hice, who carried the 10th District mantle since being elected in 2014, has decided to return to Georgia and campaign to be the next Secretary of State.
Hice, a big-time supporter of Donald Trump, is among a group who has thrown current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger under the bus.
Hice has made it known he thinks Raffensperger, despite being a Republican, worked against Trump’s campaign in Georgia.
There is no evidence of that but with plenty of like-minded thinking among voters across the state, Hice may very well find himself the new Secretary of State. Time will tell. Hice will not be the only Republican challenging Raffensperger, however. We’ll look at that race in a future edition.
As far as the 10th Congressional District seat Hice is leaving behind, a growing number of contenders continue emerging. Here’s a look at the declared candidates on the Republican side:
•Andrew Alvey, non-profit group program director and community activist
•Timothy Barr, state representative and builder contractor
•Paul Broun, physician and former congressman
•Mike Collins, trucking executive
•David Curry, former state revenue commissioner and former Henry County tax commissioner
•Mark McMain, magazine publisher and realtor
•Matt Richards, businessman
•Charles V. Rupert, Monroe businessman
Collins finished first in the GOP primary in 2014 but then lost to Hice in the runoff. It was a surprising outcome to some political observers as Collins has family political ties and is also a large employer in Butts County with his trucking company.
Broun has been elected before but has also come up short in various races. He was the first official candidate to declare for the 2022 seat in the 10th district.
One potential candidate to watch is state representative Houston Gaines. If he decides to enter the fray, Gaines will certainly be a contender to be dealt with in the 10th district race.
There will likely be more Republican candidates in the race. At least five more are considering throwing their hats into the ring.
The 10th District covers a large area and will take financial backing to make a successful run. Look for most, if not all, of the Republicans to associate themselves with former President Trump. Despite Georgia turning blue for the last presidential election, former President Trump remains extremely popular to a large portion of voters here in the Peach State.
Saying Trump’s name is similar to throwing red meat to the lions and there will be plenty of it during the 2022 race. Trump’s name won’t appear on any Georgia ballot in 2022 but it will seem like he will be as often as his name will be mentioned at various campaign events for the open District seat.
Two Democrats have also announced they are seeking the seat but it will be an uphill battle. The district makeup is one that favors any Republican nominee.
Tabitha Johnson-Green, who was the Democratic nominee in the last two elections, is running again. Green is a retired nurse. In addition, Kimberly Reuter, a licensed professional counselor, is campaigning in the 10th District as a Democrat.
In reality, it would be a win for Democrats if their candidate was able to draw 40% of the vote in this district for the general election. It’s doubtful any Democrat, regardless of who it is, could win this seat in November 2022.
It should be a fascinating race to watch, especially the Republican primary. Open congressional seats don’t happen often and it will be a grueling battle to emerge victorious.
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor for The Covington News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.