Editorial

The 14th Congressional District is the open chair in a political game of musical chairs and it’s looking like everybody who thought they couldn’t win in their own district wants in.

This week we had three new candidates announce they want to run for the seat U.S. Rep. Tom Graves will be vacating.

So far, fewer than half of the now nine GOP candidates are from the district. Do you think they just love this area so much? Not likely.

They’re thinking “hey the 14th District is one of the most conservative, pro-Trump areas in the nation ... or at least that’s what has been said ... maybe I can win a campaign there since I can’t win one in my district.”

Sure sure sure, it’s legal for anybody to run in this district, but do we want to be represented by people who aren’t even from here and don’t even know us?

We’re seeing some of the most insane accusations from people outside of this area being thrown about for that very reason — they don’t know us and they don’t really care.

Well it’s time for us to care and it’s time for us to vote like we care.

FYI, if you weren’t aware — our congressional district covers Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, Whitfield and portions of Pickens County.

So for now let’s talk a little bit about the multitude of announced candidates, who they are and where they’re from.

Kevin Van Ausdal from Catoosa County is the sole Democrat in the running thus far. He’s advocating raising the minimum wage, universal health care as well as many other items, including legalizing marijuana.

John Barge, the former state school superintendent from 2011-2015 who also ran for governor, has been a resident of Floyd and Bartow counties for decades.

Ben Bullock’s family is from Dallas but, at least recently, he has lived in Gwinnett County. He’s a U.S. Air Force veteran and withdrew from the race for the congressional seat representing Georgia’s 7th District to run for the seat for the 14th District.

State Rep. Kevin Cooke, who is also the assistant athletic director at Shorter University, represents — since 2011 — a district comprised of primarily Haralson and Carroll counties and will not be stepping down from his post for the U.S. congressional run. He works in Rome but lives just over the border in Bremen.

Dr. John Cowan, a Harbin Clinic neurosurgeon with long ties to the local Republican party, has recently been endorsed by Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats.

Clayton Fuller, an Air Force veteran from Lookout Mountain and former assistant district attorney, was appointed by President Donald Trump as a White House Fellow and recently worked in the office of the vice president.

Marjorie Greene, a wealthy businesswoman who recently took up residence in Rome, is from Milton. She switched from challenging Karen Handel in the District 6 race and became the first person to enter the District 14 contest following the announcement by Graves.

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.

Bill Hembree, from Douglas County, is a former state representative who represented District 67, and built and owns an insurance business — Bill Hembree and Associates. Like Cooke, he’s from just over the border.

Kyle Perkins is a young Dallas Republican who has been working on a grassroots campaign that eschews larger donations and emphasizes financial transparency.

All the GOP candidates are running on strictly pro-Trump, pro-gun and pro-life platforms. There are only a few small differences in the path each of the candidates is taking.

Look, this isn’t to say the other candidates aren’t qualified. This isn’t to say they might not make a good representative in Congress after they’ve fallen in love with their adopted communities.

But we certainly are saying this — they didn’t have interest in representing this area until Rep. Graves popped onto Twitter and said he’s not running again.

So take from that what you will and thank you for reading.

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