The race to replace U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, in 2014 is heating up, and Newton County residents in eastern Newton will have a full slate to choose from when the primaries roll around next year.
Attorney Gary Gerrard, of Lexington, is the latest to announce a run at the 10th Congressional seat joining at least four others; the 10th district contains parts or all of 25 counties, including eastern Newton and nearby Butts, Henry, Morgan and Walton counties.
At least one challenger is a state political heavyweight. Georgia state Rep. Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, announced her run in early April. She has been a representative since 2003, representing the 104th district, which encompasses Dacula and northeast Gwinnett County.
In 2009, she was elected chair of the House Majority Caucus and also serves as vice chairman of the house transportation committee, which developed the transportation-SPLOST initiative. She also served on the state Water Contingency Task Force under Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Other announced candidates, include:
• Jody Hice, a 30-year Walton County pastor. He previously ran against U.S. Rep. Rod Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, in the 7th Congressional District race, where he received 44 percent of the vote in 2010 runoff.
• Brian Slowinski, former Columbia County Republican Party chairman (www.voteslowinski.com).
• Stephen Simpson, a retired U.S. Army officer. Simpson lost to Broun in the most recent race for the 10th congressional district.