When Congressman Jack Kingston lost his primary bid to be the Republican nominee for Georgia's Senate race, it opened the door for Buddy Carter and Brian Reese to make their case to represent the state's 1st Congressional District. The results have been campaign themes that for the most part have fallen in line with national party platforms.
GA-1, which was redrawn in 2010 following the latest U.S. census, is sixteen coastal-area Georgia counties and parts of two others. It has been in Republican hands since Kingston was elected in 1992. It will be a tall order for Reese, a native of Savannah, to break the GOP lock on the district; his opponent, Carter, has business and political experience and is giving up his state senate seat for this race.
Reese, married with two children, says he's up to the challenge because of his desire to prioritize economic growth. "Nothing's more important than building the economy and growing the middle class," he said, "and we can not afford for people not to put that on the first agenda of things we need to do in Washington."
Carter, who grew up in Port Wentworth, was the first of his family to go to college. His prescription for the economy?: "We've got to cut spending," he said. "We've got to have entitlement reform and second of all we've got to balance our budget. In order to do that, you can't do that without cutting spending. You can't do that without entitlement reform, and most importantly we've got to grow our way out of it."
The word "prescription" also turns up in Carter's views on the Affordable Care Act. As the owner of three independent retail drugstores he said, "All I want to do is compete. Remember when four dollar prescriptions came into place? That's competition. That's how you bring down prices in healthcare. What would be a better alternative (to the ACA) is to have free market principles, to have the free market operating within healthcare."
"I don't understand why something that has helped so many people, 8.1 million people, has been criticized so harshly," countered Reese. "Now there may be some things that we can do to help it, improve it, make it better, more efficient. We need to do those things."
The candidates also part ways on other long-standing political issues.
Reese: "I don't have the right to assert my authority over a women's body. She has that right. I'm for her right to choose whatever decision she makes.";
Carter: "I am pro-life, a very strong advocate for life and I don't believe in exceptions (to abortion) as well."
Reese: "Right now I don't see any changes that need to occur within the gun control laws. What I can tell you is that the gun control laws that are in effect right now need to be enforced better."
Carter: Our right to bear arms is something that I think is crucial and something I think is under attack in America today, and it certainly important that we keep the 2nd Amendment in place and that we actually expand those rights and not deter them."