Toss Up Between Collins and Zoller In Georgia’s 9th District

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

In the race for Georgia’s “new” 9th Congressional district, I won’t be making an endorsement.  Two years ago I backed Tom Graves as the “outsider” that would best represent the views of his constituents.  Courtesy of redistricting, Graves now represents GA-14, and we have an open, very Republican seat to fill anchored in Hall County.  The truth is I like both of the major candidates.  Each brings something very different to the table.  And as I can’t vote for either, I’m comfortable with just saying I’m comfortable with either.

Doug Collins is the “insider” in the race, and on paper he’s the one I’m not supposed to like.  I have generally found myself on opposite sides of Governor Deal and Lieutenant Governor Cagle who have been assumed by many to be quietly supporting Collins.  Officially, they remain neutral.  I didn’t know much about Collins prior to this race.  Our initial meeting was quite substantive, and Collins answered questions directly.  Regarding his ability to be independent, he cited a vote against a DOT board member that not only was the pick of the former House Speaker, but was also a member of his own Sunday School class.

“It was what my constituents wanted” he told me.  It cost him his office in the capitol and the favor of the Speaker, but he insisted it was the right thing to do.  It’s a very similar story that originally solidified my support behind Graves.  I believe Collins will be his own man if sent to Washington.

Zoller, a fellow resident of Hall County along with Collins, Deal, and Cagle, is the “outsider” in the race.  As a talk radio personality, she has name ID on par with many of the elected officials however.  I’ve been an occasional guest on Zoller’s program, of which she’s currently on hiatus pending the results of the campaign.  Zoller plans on continuing her outsider’s message in D.C. rather than returning to the radio.  The voters will have the final word on that next Tuesday.  Or it may not quite be final.

There’s a third candidate, retired educator Roger Fitzpatrick, who is also in the mix.  He’s running to the hard right of both other candidates, neither of which are exactly presenting themselves as leftists.  In the 9th district, especially in the NE corner of the district, you can’t be too far to the right.  As such, Fitzpatrick may pull the two presumed front runners into a runoff.

Collins and Zoller do offer a bit of a contrast between the flavor of Republican that will represent Georgia 9.  As the “outsider” Zoller does not have the institutional endorsements that Collins brings to the table.  In addition to the Governor and Lt. Governor, Collins has the support of House Speaker David Ralston and former Governor and Senator Zell Miller.  Both are also potential constituents.

Zoller has rejected the value of these endorsements, yet brings a slate of endorsements of her own.  Sarah Palin added her name to a long list of media personalities backing her candidacy, including former Presidential candidate Herman Cain, Cain’s fellow WSB radio personality Erick Erickson, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity.

It remains to be seen which endorsements mean more.  Collins’ high profile endorsers are largely from GA 9, and are part of a large and established political network in the area.  Zoller’s endorsements saturate conservative broadcast media, and thus carry widespread name recognition among the base Republican voters that vote in July primaries.

Collins campaign staff may represent the advantage here.  Chip Lake, as general consultant, previously ran initial campaigns for Lynn Westmoreland and Phil Gingrey.  Political Director Justin Tomczak is a veteran of Graves’ 2010 campaigns.  And Bryan Millar, grandson of the former Governor, is campaign manager.  They bring a mix of experience and grass root connections from the district.

Zoller’s grass roots ties seem to be from various conservative groups, many again are led by people outside the district.  Yet names like the TEA Party Express and Freedom works are well known within the base.  We should know next Tuesday if they’re connected to get out the vote efforts.


  1. mountainpass says:

    I fully support Martha Zoller. She has responded to all my questions quickly and I believe she will represent me favorably in Congress.

    I’m a GeorgiaCarry.Org member and Collins voting in committee to make license holders criminals for carrying on private property leads me to believe he is not who I want on my side.

  2. bullFrog says:

    Mr. Collins is the only one of the three who has voted for tax increases, and he is part of the cabal that could have shown some leadership and voted against putting T-SPLOST on the ballot. Of course, he would still be supporting it if he wasn’t from a district that will soundly reject it. Announce you’re for T-SPLOST in front of these crowds, and they’ll bring out the rail.

    Mr. Collins has had the opportunity to retract his false accusations, but he continues with his amateurish video and audio edits.

    Following Governor Palin’s endorsement of Mrs. Zoller, he blew off an appearance in the televised debate in the northwest counties of the new district. Perhaps he was summoned to a dark, smoke-filled room …

  3. Starker says:

    Why hello Martha’s campaign^^. You two should try harder to hide who you are working for. To clarify from the mailer I got yesterday Doug is backed by the NRA so gun issues should be mute. He got a 100% from ACU so his history on taxes should be pretty strong. But hey Im sure Palin will protect her cubs

    • bullFrog says:

      I’ve just been trying to do some homework since you apparently haven’t. In fact, here’s a little on the meaning behind that NRA endorsement for you. which details how “…[in trying to] save the 2nd Amendment, the NRA no longer seems to care about the rest of the Bill of Rights at all.”

      “The NRA is Helping Preserve the Anti Gun Democrat Majority”, also from RedState in 2010:

      Bottom line … Collins can claim an endorsement from the club that includes many of Nancy Pelosi’s closest allies – NRA-Endorsed.

      I tossed my NRA membership card after their 2010 double-cross … and I’m still packing.

    • In Hoc says:

      Boom. Roasted.

      Starker, you should educate yourself on exactly what those ratings mean before you talk about them. You make yourself look foolish, which is fitting for a person who believes everything written on a political flyer.

    • mountainpass says:

      Starker, I do not work for the Zoller campaign. I am a citizen that cares about my rights. I was actually at that committee meeting in 2010. At that time Doug was just another RINO to me. Without GeorgiaCarry.Org being there that day counting votes, nobody would be any wiser to Doug’s desires. The NRA was absent that day I might add.

  4. n0n_s3quitur says:

    Collins may find that going nasty/sleazy in this district will backfire on him.

    Besides, isn’t the guy supposed to be a preacher, or chaplain or something? LMAO

    • wicker says:

      I wouldn’t talk about that too much (or at all). It had a negative, backlash, opposite of desired effect on Karen Handel against Nathan Deal and Dylan Glenn against Lynn Westmoreland, remember?

  5. GOP dawg says:

    Doug Collins is a tax hiker. He voted for Hospital Bed tax and he voted for hotel motel tax increase. The problem with Hotel/Motel tax increase is not the percent in which it raised the tax is what that tax was raised for. The State agreed to use that money to help fund the Falcon’s new field which will cost one billion dollars to build. The tax increase is slated to raise 300 million of that one billion however no one has come out and said where the other 700 million is coming from. So Doug Collins backed a deal without any idea of how to pay for the whole thing. This is the same thing Congress has been doing for generations. The state taxpayer in going to be on the hook for that new field and there is no reason for that. Mr. Blank has more the enough money to build his own field if needed. Furthermore, anyone that voted for T-SPLOST to be on the ballot can’t come themselves a leader. He was faced with a tough choice and chose to kick the can down the road.

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