The news is still fresh and a lot of people are weighing their options, but the question is this — if we don’t field a local candidate, do we even deserve our seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?
No locals — and by that we mean residents of the 14th District — have openly stated they’re going to run for the seat.
By the way, the 14th District covers Floyd, Polk, Chattooga, Gordon, Whitfield, Murray, Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Haralson and Paulding counties as well as a little bit of Pickens County.
We’d love to see a candidate from Rome step up, but at this point a qualified person who is from our district might do.
Just to catch up, our current representative in the U.S. House, Rep. Tom Graves, announced via Twitter post last Thursday that he wouldn’t be running again in 2020.
Graves’ spokesperson Danielle Stewart assured us that he is in fact retiring, citing a Twitter reply from Rep. Graves’ official account to the Politically Georgia podcast.
“No need for speculation. I’m really retiring (for real),” the reply read.
The announcement came as a surprise to just about everyone in the 14th District. But wait, it ain’t over yet.
Fast forward to this week.
The campaign manager for a candidate in the 6th District Republican primary, currently running against former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, said she’s considering switching over to run for the 14th District.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a wealthy Alpharetta businesswoman who describes herself as a Christian conservative, has indicated that she’s interested in moving to our area. Not that she has to. A prospective member of the U.S. House of Representative doesn’t actually have to live in the district they’d like to represent.
If she does decide to run for this district, her campaign manager assured us she’ll be moving to the district. Not to mince words, but we’d really like to see our representative ... well ... know who we are and ... well ... represent us in Congress.
Luke Martin, our local Republican Party chair, summed it up pretty well in an interview with Diane Wagner earlier this week.
“We like her as a candidate. We just like her in the district where she lives.”
Timing and funding
The election — or at least the primary where it will likely be decided — will be here pretty quickly.
Qualifying for the seat will take place in March and the primary is in May — that’s just over 3 months and 5 months respectively. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to prepare and really not a lot of time to consider what could be very much a life-changing decision for anyone.
A person serving in the U.S. Congress essentially lives in and around Washington, D.C., while in session, which is typically year-round except for a month break in August.
There’s a paycheck involved — around $174,000 a year — so there’s that.
Now that money is on the table, one of the most important considerations is funding the campaign and one of the issues for locals, or at least those already elected to state office, is fundraising.
State law prohibits Georgia legislators from receiving donations during the three or so months of the session, which begins in January. Up to this point we haven’t been able to get a solid answer on whether or not there may be a loophole for a state legislator running for a federal position.
Regardless, that’s where our potential out-of-town candidate has a leg up on the, up to this point, reluctant local competition. Greene reported more than $498,000 in her campaign chest in her October quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission.
For comparison, Rep. Graves has raised $695,809 and spent $404,690 in this campaign cycle, according to the latest report. He also has $2,235,622 cash on hand.
So if you’re knowledgeable, well-connected, maybe even self-funded and — most importantly — local, House District 14 needs you.