Nothing becomes official until election qualifying in March 2018, but it appears both Republican congressmen now serving Athens-Clarke County will face Democratic opposition.
Athens-Clarke County is part of both the 9th Congressional District, currently represented by Doug Collins, a Gainesville attorney; and the 10th Congressional District, currently represented by Jody Hice, a former conservative radio talk show host involved in Christian ministry.
Collins is in his third two-year term in Congress, while Hice is in his second term.
The 9th Congressional District, which extends northward and eastward from metropolitan Atlanta to the North Carolina and South Carolina state lines, includes parts of northern and eastern Athens-Clarke County outside the Athens Perimeter from U.S. Highway 129 through Winterville.
The 10th Congressional District, which includes the remainder of Athens-Clarke County, extends from Winder southward through Milledgeville to near Dublin, and extends eastward to the Augusta suburbs.
In the 9th District, Josh McCall, who teaches Latin at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, announced his run for Congress at an April meeting of the Hall County Democratic Party. According to his campaign website, McCall began considering a run for Congress in 2016, when Collins ran unopposed for re-election to the 9th District seat.
“My dream is the same dream as my parents. It is humble, but it is also bold. I want my children’s lives to be even better than mine,” McCall, a political newcomer, told the Hall County Democrats, according to a news release on his campaign website.
McCall’s website, mccallforall.com, outlines his position on issues ranging from health care to infrastructure to personal liberty. He is calling for the creation of a “National American Health Service” that would provide health care to every citizen, including treatment for drug addiction and mental illness.
McCall sees addressing America’s infrastructure needs as “a golden investment opportunity,” and on the issue of abortion, he contends that “no politician should stand between a woman and her doctor to make decisions about her body, the most private property she owns.”
In the 1oth District, three Democratic candidates are lining up against Hice.
Chalis Montgomery, a mother, educator and musician living in the Barrow County community of Bethlehem, has begun mounting a grass-roots campaign for the seat.
Earlier this year, Montgomery was among a group of about two dozen Democratic and progressive women who challenged a Hice staff member at a meeting in Winder regarding the congressman’s stance on the Affordable Care Act.
At the January meeting, as now-stalled Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were under way, Montgomery presented her 6-year-old daughter, Gwendolyn, as the face of the Affordable Care Act.
Montgomery told Hice staff member Ben Stout about her daughter’s rheumatoid arthritis, which will require long-term care, and said any capping of health insurance benefits would endanger her daughter’s health. At the time, Montgomery was also concerned that downsizing at her husband’s workplace could jeopardize the family’s insurance coverage.
Montgomery went on to appeal to Hice’s Christian faith, asking Stout if the congressman abides by Matthew 25:40, a biblical verse which reads, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Montgomery spoke recently to Oconee County Democrats, and will be addressing Democrats in Columbia County on Monday.
Also announcing an intention to seek the 10th District seat is Democratic candidate Kellie Lynn Collins, a resident of the McDuffie County town of Thomson. Collins’ campaign website, kelliecollinsforcongress.com, describes her as an entrepreneur whose work has included some modeling.
Positions outlined on Collins’ website include support for a federally mandated minimum wage, “responsible” gun regulation to “(e)nsure a more careful monitoring process in gun sales from both retailers and private dealers to protect all parties involved and shield the community from the effects of firearms falling into the wrong hands;” and working “to bring back untaxed profits to the American economy that are currently being kept out of the country by corporations who seek to avoid paying their fair share.”
Finally, billing himself as an “exploratory candidate” in the 10th District race, University of Georgia philosophy professor Richard Winfield, who recently did canvassing work for Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in what turned out to be a losing bid for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat, has been speaking to a number of local Democratic grouds, according to his social media.
In recent posts on Twitter, Winfield wrote, “Wake up Dems — we must stand for guaranteed jobs at $20/hr, Medicare for all, paid family leave, employee empowerment & legal care for all. And don’t forget free public day care & elder care, $500 monthly child allowances, and eviction and foreclosure protection.”