I'm pretty much in agreement with a lot of what he says in this article. To me, at this time, there are two defined front-runners, one right behind them, a possible dark horse, and then the rest of the field. Let's take a look:
- Mike Collins - The son of Mac Collins, the well-known and well-liked former Congressman from Georgia, Mike is a very likeable guy. He comes across as very real and genuine. A successful businessman, he is making that the focal point of his campaign - a business approach to dealing with things. His plan, as evidenced by his web address, is to "overhaul D.C.." Out in east Newton Co., near my neck of the woods, he has a lot of support, and as I understand it, he has a lot of grassroots and financial support throughout the entire district as well. I'd be pretty surprised if he doesn't make it past May 20th. And he currently has the most cash on hand of any candidate in this race. As an aside and in the spirit of disclosure, this is the guy I'm supporting in this race. Haven't donated or anything, and hell, I can't even vote for him as I'm west of the Alcovy, but this is who I like in this one.
- Jody Hice - The smart money is on Jody being the other one to wake up on May 21st with a run-off campaign to work. Hice raised the most money in this year's first quarter, He, too, has a very strong grassroots structure. Hice is the more fiery TEA party type who is also a Preacherman. And he can whip 'em into a frenzy - he gives a very good stump speech. Mr. Hice, by the way, is also a very nice man. The thought that some have had is that perhaps he peaked too early, but some have said that of Collins as well. It definitely doesn't hurt that he's from the most populated county in the district in terms of GOP votes, Walton Co. We'll see...
- Second Tier:
- Donna Sheldon - For a while, Sheldon was kind of an enigma. The word was that she had raised a lot of money but wasn't really spending much of it and wasn't really campaigning that much, either. Well, that has changed. She is now very much running a very active campaign. She's raised more money than anyone else, and she almost raised the most in the 1st quarter as well. She's a good speaker and seems to connect well with audiences. She's also a pretty good-looking lady, and that probably doesn't hurt with some voters. If someone is going to knock one of the top two off the perch, it will probably be this former state representative from Gwinnett
- Dark Horse:
- Gary Gerrard - He hasn't raised a ton of money, but he hasn't done bad. He seems to have a pretty good campaign team and structure and has some decent grassroots support. Yes, he's a lawyer, but he seems like a good guy. He also seems to be smart as hell. For a time, I was thinking about publicly supporting Gary in this one. Chances are that he'll finish fourth behind the aforementioned three, but I wouldn't totally count him out. Some big donations and a few things go his way, and he could have a very outside shot at making the run-off.
- The Rest:
- Stephen Simpson - Super nice guy and well-qualified and has come a long way as a candidate since 2012, but he doesn't have much of a chance, I'm afraid. He might slip up and take 4th place, and that's about as well as he could wish for.
- Mitchell Swan - Late to the race. Not that it would have mattered. He makes you think about some things. Very passionate and intelligent. No chance whatsoever.
- Brian Slowinski - I can't lie. I kind of like ole Brian. Yeah, he's kind of an oddball, but he actually knows his stuff pretty darn good. Not sure exactly why he's running, though. The only drama with these last two is to see who doesn't finish last. Because he will be on the ballot before Swan, I'm picking the upset and going with Slowinski to finish 6th with about 3 to 4% of the vote.
***Update: My good friend, Jason Pye, has also weighed in on this race.