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Unaligned GOP insiders in Georgia see Zoller coming out on top, buoyed by the fact that many voters are familiar with her from her radio show, which broadcasts across the district.
“I think Martha’s going to pull it out,” one unaligned strategist said. “She’s just so well-known.”
Regardless of whether Zoller or Collins comes out on top (and the final vote is likely to be close), the question is whether a third candidate in the race — Roger D. Fitzpatrick, who has no chance of winning — can keep the top vote-getter below the 50 percent threshold and send the race to an Aug. 21 runoff.
If that happens, it’s probably a tossup between Collins and Zoller in the runoff.
The GOP nominee will cruise to victory in the November election in this very conservative district. This is Georgia’s new district, allotted in reapportionment, and it was drawn to be anchored in Hall County in the northeast.
There are four GOP candidates vying to take on Rep. John Barrow (D) in this reconfigured district that tilts Republican. Insiders expect state Rep. Lee Anderson, a farmer, to come in first, boosted by his base and his name ID as an elected official. He’ll likely head to a runoff with another one of the candidates, either businessman Rick Allen or attorney and retired Navy fighter pilot Wright McLeod.
Allen, a successful construction company executive, loaned at least $250,000 of his own money to his campaign.
McLeod, for his part, is charismatic in person and said to be a potent speaker on the stump, but he appears to have been damaged by a series of campaign missteps throughout his run.
Attorney Maria Sheffield, who has some grass-roots support, is not expected to make the runoff.