Republicans debate in 12th District race

The four Republicans seeking the nomination to run against Democrat John Barrow to represent the 12th Congressional District did their best to distinguish themselves from one another in a televised debate Wednesday.

The farmer and businessman from Grovetown, state Rep. Lee Anderson, gave his cellphone number out during the live broadcast.

“I’m fed up with Obama and Barrow for wanting to shove the largest tax increase down our throat in American history and call it
health care reform,” Anderson said. “I’m fed up with Barrow and Obama for not wanting to balance the budget.”

Wright McLeod, the Augusta-born retired Navy officer who now works as a real estate attorney, spoke of the complaint opponent Rick Allen filed against him with the Federal Elections Commission, calling the move “big-boy politics.” McLeod has since itemized several campaign finance disclosures at the FEC’s request.

“I’m the only candidate here that’s been shot at before,” McLeod said, quoting Winston Churchill. “There’s nothing more exhilarating than being shot at, especially when they miss the mark.”

The only candidate from outside metro Augusta and the youngest, Maria Sheffield, said she’d been a Republican since “you could put us in a telephone booth and we could dance together” and defended her job as a regulatory compliance attorney as useful in dealing with the minutiae of federal legislation.

Allen talked about his successful contracting business.

“It’s sad in this country when people work in a business and they’re criticized. We see it on the national scene right now. I’m proud of that business. That business is a leader not only in the community but in the state, in this nation. We’ve created thousands of jobs; we’ve
provided a way for families to provide for their children.”

Voters already are casting ballots early in the July 31 primary. The 12th Congressional District was redrawn to increase a Republican’s chance of winning, but the candidates fear many Augusta Republicans will cast ballots in the Democratic primary instead to select a candidate for sheriff.

The only candidate to endorse Georgia’s new regional transportation sales tax, Anderson defended his support for the plan developed while he served in the state Legislature.

“What we did is give you the freedom to choose whether you want to pass it or not,” he said.

CHECK OUT ‘MY VOTER PAGE’

Find your poll location and see a sample ballot on the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page, mvp.sos.state.ga.us.

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