Bill Hembree announced early Thursday that he will also step in to the race for the 14th Congressional district.

The Douglas County Republican is a former state representative who represented District 67, which includes Douglasville and Villa Rica. This makes him the ninth Republican to enter the race and the fifth to declare from out of the district.

“I am a conservative Republican and a patriot who believes in the foundation of our country and I am running for United States Congress in Georgia’s 14th district with a passion for serving my home state and protecting the identity of America. It is time for me to re-enter the fight because I believe we are in the fight of our lives,” Hembree stated in his campaign announcement.

He described himself as "one of the original Republican lawmakers to actively campaign for President Trump in the 2016 Presidential election" and stated he is anchored by his Christian faith, love of family and led by conservative values.

The congressional district includes Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, Whitfield and portions of Pickens County.

Update:

Another familiar face has stepped out of the woodwork to run in an already crowded 14th District congressional race.

Former state school superintendent and candidate for governor John Barge filed his statement for organization with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

He’d not sent out a statement or an announcement as of late Wednesday.

Also, Andy Gunther, a retired Army veteran and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector from Bremen, announced he’s running for the post on Wednesday. Gunther is the vice chair of the Haralson County Republican Party.

That makes eight Republican candidates who have said they’re vying for the post.

Endorsements have been flying around in the race. At this point published endorsements have focused primarily on two candidates — Dr. John Cowan and Marjorie Greene.

At this point, Cowan has been endorsed by the sheriffs of three counties within the 14th District — Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats and Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford — as well as State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler.

Greene, who entered this race after withdrawing from the 6th District race, has been endorsed by several national entities. According to her website, she’s been endorsed by the House Freedom Fund and Right Women PAC — both Washington, D.C., based conservative political action committees.

Greene’s campaign confirmed Wednesday she has moved into the Floyd County area.

Candidates have been seen all over the 14th District, especially this past weekend. The only incident was a minor kerfuffle between Greene supporters and a taco shop in Calhoun after a pro-Trump rally, which appears to have been quickly remedied.

So far, four other Republican candidates have filed with the FEC and announced they’re running: State Rep. Kevin Cooke, Kyle Perkins, Clayton Fuller and Ben Bullock, who moved his campaign from the District 7 race in January.

Qualifying for the post runs from March 2-6.

At this point, no Democrats have officially stepped in the race. However, Kevin Van Ausdal from Catoosa County has a live campaign website stating he’s a contender for the seat. 

A listing on his campaign website says he will be attending the Floyd County Democratic Party meeting on Thursday for a meet and greet. The meeting is scheduled to take place in the community room of the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority at 560 North Division St. at 7 p.m.

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