Revving Up The Speculation Machine in GA-14

Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-14) shocked the #gapol and #gagop community with his announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election. Georgia’s 14th district is very red and very pro-Trump, so there’s not much risk of a Democrat winning. Not to mention, Congressman Graves is a fairly popular congressman. So, yeah….it’s a bit bewildering. I’ve always appreciated his service and have been a supporter since he was in the Georgia House of Representatives.

So, the question in the air is “who are you hearing?” I’ve heard a few names floated around. As I’ve done in the past, I’m merely speculating about the list of names. Plus, it’s my old district, so I feel like I have the prerogative. There will be a Democrat or two running, but this is a solid Republican district, so I’ll be looking at which Republicans could be looking into it. I may not put thoughts with each name (it’s late as I write this).

Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga): Senator Mullis has been an influential figure under the Gold Dome and worked his way up to become Rules Chairman in the Senate. He’s had his eye on Washington in the past, but I know he enjoys his service in Atlanta. He would be a contender who has plenty of respect and support in northwest Georgia.

Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown): Representative Kelley is young, sharp, and is a part of leadership in the Georgia House. His path is not unlike Congressman Graves and could garner a lot of support around the middle and southern parts of the 14th. I could see him quickly gaining support in the north end of the district as well.

Senator Chuck Payne (R-Dalton): Senator Payne is well-respected in the 14th. His former career with the Department of Juvenile Justice and his current career in the Georgia Senate gives him roots across northwest Georgia. It would not surprise me to see him give it serious thought.

Former State Representative Jay Neal: Neal currently serves as Executive Director for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. He might look at it if he’s looking to get back into being a legislator.

Former State Representative Tom Weldon: Weldon had an abrupt retirement from the State House a few years ago, but an open seat can make one pause and consider it.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Charlie Bethel: Justice Bethel, as you may recall, was a state senator before being appointed to the state Court of Appeals and then to the state Supreme Court. Could he jump into a Congressional campaign? It’s possible. He’s still well-respected, and you never know what kind of mileage you can get out of the Mullet Doctrine.

Representative Steve Tarvin (R-Chickamauga): A definite possibility since Tarvin ran for Congress back in 2009. One of the first (if not the first) Georgia public officials to hitch up to the Trump Train back in 2016 and with a legislative track record will play well with Trump supporters in the 14th.

Former Congressman Paul Broun: Because #LIBERTY!

Representative Katie Dempsey (R-Rome)

Representative Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee)

Paulding County School Board Member Jason Anavitarte: Very active in his community, but you may recall he recently got some buzz from a Hispanic business group urging Governor Brian Kemp to appoint Anavitarte to become Georgia’s next US Senator.

Representative Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville): Well-respected among conservatives in the 14th. Forgoing a Congressional run per a Facebook post. From said post:

[Representative Micah] Gravley states, “after much consideration, paired with family discussions and prayer, Heather and I have determined that the best place for me to be and where I’m needed most, is at home with our girls. While there will most assuredly be further opportunities to serve our state on a national level, down the road, this is the only opportunity I will have to watch our children grow. I am incredibly humbled by the many calls from friends and supporters, district wide and beyond, in support of a congressional run. But for now, I am honored to work on behalf of the citizens of Paulding and Douglas Counties. I look forward to continuing that service in our home district and as the Vice Chairman of the House Majority caucus.”

Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome)

Soon-to-be-former Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock: From what I hear, he didn’t exactly do a bang-up job in his re-election bid, so I doubt he’d try to give a congressional run a try.

Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin

Virginia Galloway: She’s the face of the Faith and Freedom Coalition here in Georgia and is highly regarded with social conservatives (who are quite numerous in northwest Georgia). Update: I spoke with Virginia today, and she said she had no interest.

Me(?!): Heh. Nah, dawg. Thanks for asking though. #HardPass

There are other names I know I’m leaving out, but this would be a hastily cobbled together short-list of names who may qualify for the Republican primary next year….which isn’t that far away. Feel free to speculate other names in the comments.


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