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It'll be a juicy Peach State race for the House: Tea Party fave Zoller vs. "establishment" hopeful Collins.

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Georgia Redraw: Dem a ‘Dead Man’ and Crusaders for a New District

It’ll be a juicy Peach State race for the House: Tea Party fave Zoller vs. “establishment” hopeful Collins.

The major political story in Georgia has been the new map for the state’s U.S. House districts.  Passed in the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, the plan severely dilutes Democratic strength in the 12th District held by Rep. John Barrow—so much so that Democrat Barrow was dubbed “a walking dead man” by veteran conservative activist Phil Kent, former editorial page editor of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.
 
The other major change in the Peach State’s U.S. House delegation was its gain of a 14th District.  Created in north Georgia, the newest district has 20 counties.  Because it is considered a safely Republican district, its primary for Congress next year is, in all likelihood, tantamount to election.
 
And with a contest shaping up as the embodiment of the competition between Tea Party conservatives and more “establishment” candidates that is a national face-off within the GOP, the primary for the seat is sure to be watched, reported on, and analyzed nationwide.
 
“Tea Party before they called it Tea Party” is how conservative hopeful and longtime radio talk show host Martha Zoller is often introduced.  A mother of four and fixture on area radio for more than 15 years, Zoller has developed a fervent following for highlighting issues that range from the pro-life cause to rolling back illegal immigration to cutting federal taxes and spending.
 
Like the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) in his years as a radio and TV editorialist, Zoller has long drawn fan mail urging her to keep speaking out and run for office.  University of Georgia graduate Zoller is also a part of community life in Hall County (the largest county in the district), working as an active volunteer in groups such as the Rotary Club and the African-American Foundation.
 
“I think people will respond to someone who is part of the community and knows its needs,” Zoller told HUMAN EVENTS during a recent trip to Washington, D.C., “and in a district where unemployment is over 10% and cities are having furlough days, my message of balancing the budget without increasing taxes, fees or mandates on the American people will resonate.”
 
Zoller’s leading opponent is state Assemblyman Doug Collins, trial lawyer and ally of former Republican Gov. (2002-2010) Sonny Perdue.  Although Collins is generally conservative, he does have a record that includes a highly controversial vote for a Perdue-backed proposal last year that levied a 1.45% fee on the adjusted gross patient revenue of the hospitals in Georgia.  Although Perdue and other state officials dubbed it a fee, the measure (HB 306) was dubbed the “hospital tax” or “bed tax” throughout the Georgia press.
 
With 12 vigorous Tea Party organizations districtwide, Collins’ bed tax vote is likely to be a major point of debate in their contest.  There are, of course, other Republicans mentioned for the primary—notably former State  Sen. Chip Pearson, who is considered a strong fund-raiser because of his role as head of the Georgia Republican Foundation.
 
But for now, a bout looms large between Tea Party favorite Zoller and the establishment’s Collins.  And with no major statewide contests, that should be the major event in Georgia politics in 2012.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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