A business mogul, a small-town Mayor, and a State Senator headline one of the only races in Tuesday’s Georgia Republican primaries that looks to be competitive.
Breitbart News spoke with all three of the candidates as part of our analysis of the race for the open seat in Georgia’s third district which is being vacated by Congressman Lynn Westmoreland.
Businessman Jim Pace:
Jim Pace is a successful Georgia businessman and philanthropist. He cofounded Group VI, a real-estate and construction firm.
“We’ve covered the district very well from top to bottom,” Pace told Breitbart News about how the race is going. “I’ve had to put new tires on my truck and I feel like we’ve done all that we can do, so we feel very confident, the polling data looks very good.”
“What made me want to run is very much like what made my Dad get on that big green Army bus when Pearl Harbor got bombed,” Pace told Breitbart News when we asked him what motivated him to get in the race. “It was more of a sense of duty than a sense of wanting to do it. I feel very strongly that people like me who have benefitted from the freedoms we have here in America during my business career of forty years need to put back into the country that we have.”
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson:
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson is a family dentist and has a long history of civic participation in his community. Ferguson was elected mayor in 2008 and the town has boomed with the opening of a KIA auto plant and many new supporting businesses.
“With less then a week to go, we like where we are in the race,” Mayor Ferguson told Breitbart News on the state of the race.
“We have put together a fantastic campaign … We have moved into first place and feel like we have done an excellent job both in terms of the political support and fundraising and we have put ourselves in an excellent position to be in a run-off,” he said.
“Really it boiled down to a couple of things. I think we have a very unique perspective to take to Washington,” Ferguson told Breitbart News on his motivations for running.
“Number one is mayor of a small town, that had virtually lost everything in terms of its job base but in recent years has found incredible success. We have reinvented a community and we’ve united a community. We see where the hurdles to growing jobs are and quite candidly gouged in some pretty bad Washington policies. I’m also a practicing dentist and have owned a dental practice here in West Point for the past 24 years. I see the changes happening that are in health care right now and I don’t see any positive that is happening and I think our American health care system is in danger of becoming second rate.”
State Senator Mike Crane:
State Senator Mike Crane has been endorsed by #NeverTrump’s Erick Erickson, the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservative Fund. Like Jim Pace, his background is in construction.
“We’re pulling out all the stops and not leaving any stone unturned working hard day in and day out till the finish line,” Crane told Breitbart News about the state of the race. “We’ve got a great volunteer organization on the ground as we speak. Making direct personal connections with as many of the voter in the district as we can … It’s going real well, a lot of energy surrounding our campaign. We’ve got volunteers from as far away as Wyoming.”
Pace has decisive reported fundraising advantage almost out raising the other two combined.
Breitbart News asked all three candidates about what issues they would prioritize as a Congressman and asked Senator Crane about what he considers his biggest legislative accomplishments as a State Senator:
Jim Pace on his policy priorities if he gets in Congress:
They are going to be tied together, one is dependent on the other. The first would be jobs and the economy. I’m a economic developer, I have been for 27 years. I have most recently brought large movie studios into our county and as a result we’ve got thousands of jobs and … hundreds of millions worth of economic impact in a relatively small county south of Atlanta…. We need to do that nationally, our jobs have been leaving America for far too long and we need to create a business environment to bring those jobs back on shore. Just here locally I’ve been doing what I would propose to do nationally. A company that I work with was out of the United Kingdom and we’ve just located a Swiss company in the building that I’m actually talking to you from … We need to bring those jobs back to Americans. We need to do that so we can rebuild our military and keep our country safe. We do not need to have the military at it’s lowest level in forty years at a time when the world seems to be more and more complicated. I would focus on jobs and the economy and rebuilding the ability to keep our families safe and secure. I would also focus greatly at reducing the size of the federal government.
Drew Ferguson on his policy priorities if he gets to Congress:
Without question in the first term the thing we want to do turn the American economy around and we understand first hand because we have been involved with creating over 15,000 manufacturing jobs over the las few years here. We understand that businesses need a tax that much flatter much more fair and quite candidly makes us more competitive around the world. We also understand the burdens and regulations that are on business’ impact the cost of doing business in America, and put us at a disadvantage not only here but around the world. So making sure that our economy is revived is vitally important to the people of the third district of Georgia. We here that everywhere we go. Healthcare certainly plays a role in that. The cost of health care now is spiraling out of control, my personal experience is, my health care costs in my dental practice have gone up really almost three fold in the last four years. It really strangles our business. It hurts our growth curve and keeps us from hiring new employees. and I will tell you, I see that as one of the toughest things that American Business is facing but also the quality of care that patients are receiving is going to be impacted and it has been impacted by the affordable care act.
Senator Crane on his policy priorities if he gets to Congress:
The first thing we’d like to do is reestablish the House of Representatives as the preeminent leading body in the federal government … I’d like to see the House be much more influential in the policy setting business for the country. They have the strongest tool to do it and that’s the appropriations process. I think under proper leadership the appropriations process can be a very effective tool for restoring constitutional government at the federal level.
Senator Crane on his legislative accomplishments:
Well I think one of the most notable is one of the first things we started to do which ended up taking two and a half years to accomplish is ending taxpayer funded abortions in Georgia … Much of what we’ve done doesn’t get recorded, we’ve stopped so much bad stuff from happening but there is no record of that… The motor fuel tax increase which was probably the largest at least in dollars tax increases Georgia’s seen, certainly under Republican leadership. A massive nearly billion dollar tax increase that came into effect this last year, they wanted to make it twice that much. So our presence and a few other brave patriots in the legislative body stood in the way and held back the tide and were able to lessen the impact of that. We weren’t able to totally stop it but I’d say it’s arguably half of what it would have been had the establishment had free reign.
With three strong candidates running tough campaigns, it’s likely that the race will end up in a runoff which is triggered when no candidate receives fifty percent of the vote.