The candidate: Surgeon Bob Johnson, a Republican. The member: Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who is running for Senate, leaving his seat open in 2014. The district: Kingston has held the 1st District, which includes all of of Georgia's coastline, since 1992. It's a strong district for the GOP, and Mitt Romney carried it with 56 percent last cycle. The team: John Konkus at Jamestown Associates (general consulting, media/communications, and mail), Robert Blizzard (polling), and Nathan Wurtzel at The Catalyst Group (PAC fundraiser).
"I believe there are about 900,000 doctors in America who would like one more doctor in Congress," said Johnson in a Dec. 9 interview with CQ Roll Call. "So tapping into that wealth of support is something we've worked on diligently and fruitfully."
The native Oklahoman has billed himself as an ardent conservative in this crowded primary. There are three open-seat House races in Georgia this cycle, and candidates have found it's difficult to make an impression so far on voters and donors.
Johnson plans to stress his background to help him stand out in the primary, plus he said he's already received "practical guidance" from another Peach State doctor-turned-politician, GOP Rep. Tom Price.
"I'm unique," Johnson said. "I'm a former Army Ranger; I'm a retired Army officer; I'm a head and neck cancer surgeon, a boy scout leader, a medical missionary."
If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the May 20 primary, the top two contenders will proceed to a July 22 run-off.
The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.