Tea party vs. establishment in GA House race

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 0:31 AM

S. representative. It’s the second time that Republican , owner of , has crossed paths with Scott in the sprawling district that runs S from central GA to the FL border.

Tea party vs. establishment in GA House race

A truck-driving Macon businesswoman and a former sheriff’s deputy with a history of crossing party lines are trying to oust Republican Austin Scott from his three-term seat in Congress as Georgia’s U. S. representative.

It’s the second time that Republican , owner of , has crossed paths with Scott in the sprawling district that runs S from central GA to the Florida border.

Hicks originally ran for the seat in two thousand-tenth against then-incumbent Democrat , but ended her campaign when Scott entered the race after abandoning his gubernatorial run.

“I love to declare his ocean liner swamped our small canoe,” Hicks said of Scott, who'd powerful support from the state party leadership.

This time around, she won’t be nearly as deferential or diplomatic towards Scott.

For James Neal Harris, a retired Bibb County deputy sheriff turned process-serving, bounty-hunting private investigator, the race is an opportunity to indicate voters what it means to be a self-described “lifelong registered Democrat, but not a staunch Democrat.”

And for Scott, the powerful favorite to maintain his seat, he’ll have to indicate he can withstand a growing anti-incumbent sentiment and the possible downstream electoral drag of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz GOP presidential nomination.

Since the district was redrawn to favor Republicans following the two thousand ten Census, it'd be very challenging for Harris to draw off a triumph in the Nov election, said David Wasserman, U. S. House Editor at .

The genuine race, Wasserman said, will be between Scott and Hicks in the Republican primary May twenty-four; the winner will face the long-shot Harris in the Nov common election.

Scott has more than on hand for the campaign, according to , a website of the Middle for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research middle that tracks campaign spending. More than $312.000 came from Another $191.000 came in large contributions, mostly from business interests.

His war chest includes donations of from the Independent Contractor Exchange Group, American Crystal Sugar and the National Community Pharmacists Association. Northrup Grumman gave Scott $9.000 and Koch Industries and Coca-Cola Co. provided $7.500 apiece.

Number campaign fundraising figures were available for Hicks or Harris.

“If the people give me the privilege to serve again,” Scott said, “I’m going to continue to do my job, with regard to constituent services locally, as the only Republican (from Georgia) on the Armed Services Committee in the House or the Senate, and I’m going to do my job maintain agriculture and our farmers and our agricultural economy.”

Hicks doesn’t consider herself portion of the Republican Party’s tea-party faction: “I really detest to lump me to them or them to me,” she said.

But her disdain of establishment Republicans echoes familiar tea-party refrains. On her website, she paints Republican Party leaders in Congress with a broad, unflattering brush stroke.

“Mr. Scott, you and John Boehner and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell had six years to fight for us, instead you fought us, you fought common sense, you fought our futures,” Hicks’ website reads, referring to the former speaker of the House, the current speaker and the majority boss in the Senate.

She said she’s confident that disgruntled GOP primary voters will heed her call for modify and and “send a leader, a freedom defender and, yes, a truck driver to Washington.”

Hicks pilots a six-wheel, 21-foot rollback truck as she delivers storage containers to business and residential customers around the Macon area.

Scott, who was unopposed in the latest two elections, needed only to see Hicks’ aggressive roadside billboards to realize she means business.

With a self-funded campaign, Hicks has keep up several dozen billboards throughout the district attacking Scott’s conservative bona fides and casting him as an establishment Republican who votes the party line – even when it goes against conservative principles.

One Hicks billboard that got Scott’s attention says he received a “D-plus” grade from, an organization that wants to unhurried U. S. immigration. Scott actually has a career grade of from the organization and a B-plus grade since 2013.

Hicks said the D-plus came from the website , which lists lawmaker scores from a variety of special interest groups. The site Scott’s NumbersUSA score as sixty-four, resulting in the D-plus grade from Hicks.

Don’t expect Scott to start a billboard war.

“It’s just not who I am,” he said this week. “She’s got the right to declare what she chooses. I think people locally are more interested in making sure that we get care of national security and that we get care of and things love that matter so much for (Air Force Base).”

Final house passage of the included two amendments offered by Scott. One ensures that “,” love Robins, according to a Scott press release.

And the other helped tiny pharmacies to partake in the TRICARE prescription drug benefit program. The measure related to military depots made it into the final legislation signed by President Barack Obama in November two thousand fifteen, but the pharmacy amendment did not.

The NDAA also continued funding for the fleet of at Moody, which Scott fought for despite resistance from both parties.

“The chairman of the Armed Services Committee was against me. The president was against me. And in the end, the A-10 is still flying,” Scott said. “And in the president’s budget this year, he agreed to support it. So that’s a large win for the district that I’m directly responsible for.”

Hicks said it was Scott’s votes on and the $one.1 trillion two thousand fifteen Omnibus spending bill that angered her the most and prompted her to running against him.

“I thought those votes didn’t represent the men and women of the eighth District, and I couldn’t stay quiet anymore,” Hicks said.

Obama angered many Democrats when he sought congressional approval to fast-track the , an Asia-Pacific free trade deal involving twelve countries.

But with votes from Scott and , the president secured House passage of the Trade Promotion Authority – a fast-track bill that'd assistance the pact move faster through Congress.

In a press release at the time, Scott defended his vote.

“Free trade opens new markets to America’s agricultural and industrial producers and allows our economy to expand, which means more jobs right here at residence in Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District,” after the vote.

Other Republicans, however, opposed the Trade Promotion Authority because it allowed the president deal a trade agreement and obtain a congressional vote on the measure within a certain time period with number amendments allowed and Ltd congressional debate.

Scott again defended his vote this week.

“I don’t have any problem at all with allowing the (trade) negotiations to go forward as long as those negotiations are made public to the American citizens prior to any vote on final approval of it. Which is precisely what that vote did,” Scott said.

Hicks said she also was distressed over Scott’s vote for the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill that Republican leaders negotiated with Democrats.

Hicks said the bill was “included everything on Obama’s Christmas wish list,” including funding for Syrian refugee resettlement and continued funding for Planned Parenthood when many Republicans were trying to defund the group.

Amid the rancor between Hicks and Scott, Democrat Harris will have the challenging task of trying to lift his public image while number one is paying much attention.

Harris ran for the eighth District congressional seat in two thousand-sixth as a Republican. He got eighteen % of the vote in the GOP runoff against former U. S. Rep. Mac Collins, who garnered eighty-two % of the vote.

A self-proclaimed “lifelong registered Democrat,” Harris said he ran as a Republican to assistance former Rep. Jim Marshall, the incumbent “blue dog” Democratic representative at the time.

Harris said portion of his rationale was to force Collins to spend money on the primary race, so that he’d have less to utilize against Marshall in the general election. Marshall went on to narrowly beat Collins fifty-one % to forty-nine percent.

“I wasn’t going to running against the guy I wanted to stay in (office) because I knew Jim Marshall. I know him personally,” Harris explained. “I know there’s a lot of people who aren’t going to realize that and that’s why whenever I go into a meeting, I automatically clarify that first.”

But a July 1, two thousand four, in the Jones County News reported that Harris also ran that year as a Republican for the Jones County Board of Commissioners.

The same paper , however, on Oct. twenty-eight, two thousand four, that Harris and three other commission candidates “did not have to qualify as representing any political party,” because it was unclear whether the commission chair – the position they were vying for – would be a full-time position.

Harris said he doesn’t recollect whether he ran as a Republican or not in that race. “That was a long time ago,” he said.

But after years of working behind the scenes on many campaigns, Harris said he isn’t averse to helping or taking his support across party lines.

“I don’t look a Democrat or a Republican,” he said. “I don’t vote party. I vote person. We’re all in the same boat, hopefully going down the same river, hopefully going the same way.”

He said he decided to running against Scott after one of Scott’s staffers hung up the phone on him after denying his request for assistance with a problem.

In spite of his long odds and brief money, Harris said he expects to win in November.

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