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Three's a Crowd: Republicans Flood Open Georgia Races

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
The retirement of Chambliss sparked a domino effect among Republicans in Georgia that resulted in 20 GOP candidates across the field for three House seats.

But operatives say itís unclear whether the club would get involved in these races before the runoffs. (A spokesman declined to discuss specific future endorsements in Georgia.) This forces candidates to find other resources to boost them to one of the top two spots in each primary.

Hereís a closer look at the Peach Stateís three open House races in 2014:

Georgiaís 1st District

State Sen. Buddy Carter is the candidate to beat in this six-person GOP primary, Republican operative said. Carter reported $312,000 in the bank at the end of the third quarter. Thatís almost double the amount of his closest competitor.

But several other qualified candidates could easily get second place and proceed to the runoff, Republicans said.

Thereís surgeon Bob Johnson, a retired doctor in the U.S. Army, who says he plans to tap the wealthy medical community for support.

Republicans also described venture capitalist John McCallum, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, as another viable candidate for the second runoff spot. McCallum only entered the race recently, and his first fundraising report will be telling, GOP operatives added.

Georgiaís 10th District

The race to replace Broun in this exurban Atlanta district is the most unpredictable House contest in the state, GOP strategists say. None of the five candidates who filed third-quarter fundraising reports here broke the six-figure mark. Whatís more, many of the candidates are from the same region in the district, further muddling the field.

Trucking company owner Mike Collins ó the son of former Rep. Mac Collins, R-Ga. ó recently released a poll that showed him leading the field. But that same poll showed nearly 60 percent of voters are undecided, leaving a huge opening for other candidates.

State Rep. Donna Sheldon could carve a path to victory as the only woman in the race, said local Republicans. Baptist pastor and radio host Jody Hice is likely to garner the support of voters who like Brounís outspoken conservative personality. Meanwhile, veteran Stephen Simpson could garner the more moderate conservative vote.

Georgiaís 11th District

Eight Republicans are vying for this seat, currently held by Gingrey, making it one of the most crowded GOP primaries in the country.

Republicans predict former Rep. Bob Barr, who is making a comeback bid after losing in 2002, will likely make the runoff thanks to his high name recognition. But the race for second place is currently a tossup between businesswoman Tricia Pridemore, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk and state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey.

Loudermilk has received endorsements from conservative groups such as the Madison Project. But he ended the third quarter with a meager $64,000 in cash on hand.

Pridemore could sneak through as the only woman in the contest. Operatives say she could self-fund a bid if she wanted, thanks to personal wealth from launching a multimillion-dollar software company.

But Lindsey, with his ties to Republican power brokers in the state legislature, canít be discounted either, operatives added.

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