Stumping at a southern political landmark Wednesday, 12th Congressional District candidate John Stone aligned himself closely with the Tea Party, praised the recent government shutdown and promised to vigorously debate his opponents in the coming months.
Stone, the former deputy chief of staff for the late Rep. Charlie Norwood and more recently, the chief of staff for Texas Congressman and Tea Party Caucus member John Carter, said House members successfully flexed their muscle over the federal budget in forcing the recent shutdown.
“If the House agrees not to ever use that weapon ever, we unilaterally disarm before every fight begins,” he said, to a small gathering of supporters at Sconyers barbecue.
Those in Congress driving the recent shutdown are “revolutionaries” who will hopefully prompt years of balanced budgets and the implementation of “true conservative policies” that followed prior shutdowns, Stone said.
Stone said, like Norwood, he wasn’t a Washington insider, despite spending several years there. “I never got along with that crowd anyhow,” he recalled Norwood, who died in 2007, as saying.
Stone faces businessman Rick Allen in the Republican primary May 20. The winner will face incumbent five-term Democrat John Barrow, who narrowly defeated farmer Lee Anderson in a district redrawn the year before to increase the likelihood of a Republican win.
Allen lost the Republican nomination in 2012 to Anderson, despite Anderson’s refusal to debate him, or later Barrow, in public.
Once a broadcaster for radio station WBBQ-FM in Augusta, Stone said he entered politics after serving as moderator in political debates and hopes for “debates and debates and debates” with opponents for the seat, especially Barrow, if Stone wins the primary. Allen hasn’t agreed to a debate yet, he said.
Columbia County retiree Steve Booher came to Sconyers to hear Stone speak. Booher said while he might not agree with all of Stone’s platform, he liked the fact that “I can talk to him. I want a candidate that will listen to me.”
Richard Montgomery of Sylvania called Stone “personable.” Montgomery, his wife and another couple drove from the southern part of the 12th to hear the candidate talk, he said.
Another member of their group, Henrilynn Cleland, said she and her husband had gotten to know Stone and his wife well over the past few years.
“He’s the only one who can beat John Barrow,” Cleland said.