DeKalb businesswoman Liz Carter believes Georgia’s fourth congressional district, which covers most of DeKalb and Rockdale counties, is a winnable race for a Republican.
"Everyone told me I had a huge uphill battle," she said at a recent luncheon attended by supporters and Rockdale residents curious to hear what she’d say. "That has changed."
For starters, she said that each of the Democratic candidates – incumbent Congressman Hank Johnson, DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes, and former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones – had their own issues that would turn away voters.
Carter, the youngest of 10 who grew up in various western states and moved to Georgia about seven years ago, described initially knocking on doors and talking with DeKalb residents. "They’re a lot more conservative than they wanted to admit," she said. "They are all mad and angry because of the corruption that has happened in DeKalb."
She said the straw that broke the camel’s back and made her decide to run was when she heard Johnson’s comments about people not being afraid to don white hoods again if Congressman Joe Wilson’s remarks were not censured.
"I highly disagree with any congressional leader that stands up and uses history for fear and media," she said. I think he’s done a disservice to the civil rights movement."
At the top of her platform issues she cited job creation, national security, and education.
"In essence, Congress has stalled the economy," she said, adding that because small business owners aren’t sure of what’s coming down the pike, they aren’t hiring. "We have to be able to deliver clear legislation that says here’s what it’s going to cost, here’s who its going to impact and here’s what it’s going to benefit."
With the housing crisis, she cited a similar need for stability.
"There’s got to be some type of criteria that you stick to and you say, here’s what we can do. Quit changing the rules," she said. "We either need to let people lose their homes and start over, or truly help them."
She said the No Child Left Behind program doesn’t work. "But we’ve got to be able to get down to what does work" she said, suggesting looking at state and local options. She said she favored vouchers but not between public and private schools.
She described herself as a Fair Tax supporter, pro-life, and a supporter of gay marriage and of ending the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Carter, who was recently endorsed by Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway, said she stepped away from her consulting firm for a year to research district four.
"There’s not another candidate that is full time, who has business experience, that are out meeting with every sheriff. going through all the jails, meeting with every school, meeting with every fire department"
"It’s about going out and talking to individuals. And it’s about a white woman showing up at NAACP and talk about issues and I am willing to do that and am doing that."
She also pointed to her background in corporate leadership and as the owner of a small business as making her the better choice for the Republican ticket over retired Naval officer Larry Gause and non-profit organizer Cory Ruth.
She acknowledged the Republican National Party was not currently investing money in the race unless she was able to raise a certain amount.
"Until I can prove to people that I honestly care and understand their concerns, I’m not asking for money. Right before the primary, I’ll go on a huge fundraiser push and I’ll be able to tap into my connections."
"I will win this race. I really believe that," she said simply. "Things have just been lining up."