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May 9, 2014

South Georgia drive

THOMASVILLE — Jack Kingston has hitched his U.S. Senate hopes to south Georgia’s wagon of voters.

As part of a 4-day, 20-stop swing through the region in search of support, the First District congressman from Savannah visited customers at Grassroots Coffee Company on Friday. His other Friday stops included Albany, Tifton and Warner Robins.

“As the only south Georgia candidate in this race, we are trying to get through south Georgia and emphasize my work on agriculture, on defense and my business background,” Kingston said.

Kingston, one of seven Republican hopefuls, is also urging people to vote.

“I want people to know the election is coming up fast (May 20). Some don’t know that, and early voting has already started,” he said.

There are also four Democrats seeking the seat currently held by Republican Saxby Chambliss, who opted not to seek re-election.

“I think people want someone who is conservative and has a business background,” said Kingston, who spent more than a decade selling insurance and has worked in agri-business. “They want someone who understands the private sector.”

Numerous business organizations have lined up in support of Kingston, who has been in Congress since 1993. He has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and sports a 100 percent approval rating by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Kingston’s conservative credentials aren’t in doubt. The American Conservative Union scored his voting record at 96 percent. He also received an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.

“People are very concerned about the direction of this country and want to know someone will stand on conservative principles,” Kingston said.

According to recent polls, Kingston is locked in a tight race with David Perdue and Karen Handel for the top spot in the GOP  primary. Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey remain well behind, as do longshots Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson.

According to a recent InsiderAdvantage survey of 531 likely primary voters, Perdue is pulling 26 percent. Handel and Kingston are drawing 18 and 17, respectively.

Kingston’s total falls within the 4.2 percent margin of error. He is counting on south Georgia voters to help him get into a runoff, which will be necessary if none of the candidates receive more than 50 percent of the ballots. He has visited Thomasville four times during the campaign.

“I want to be sure people know who I am,” he said. “I first came to Thomasville when I was 12 years and I haven’t stopped coming back. The first business I worked for had a relationship with Thomasville.

“As a congressman, I have represented south Georgia, not all the way to Thomas County, but I had Colquitt County and Lowndes County. I understand agriculture and the military, and I have a proven conservative record that is in line with Georgia values.”

Kingston said he and fellow conservatives have effectively thwarted the House agenda of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the last two years and he would like to help do likewise in the Senate.

“We can’t turn the country around until we turn the Senate around. We need proven conservatives in the Senate who can get things done. I want to be part of that battle,” Kingston said

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Pictured are (bottom row, from left) Rebecca Gilliland, Sara Claire Fennell, Frannie Wetherbee, Kelley Casanova, Paige Bramblett, Jordan Pidcock, (top row, from left) Julia Davis, Catharine Fennell, William Harrer, Will Carico, Maddie Eason and Haley Hinson.

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