Editor’s note: Reporters from The Northeast Georgian in Cornelia and the Franklin County Citizen Leader teamed to profile the Republican candidates for the Ninth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. John London is also on the ballot but has been disqualified.
Clyde looks for second term in Congress
By Matthew Osborne
The Northeast Georgian
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde was not afraid to make waves when he entered the Capitol for the first time.
Clyde, who is finishing his first term representing the 9th District of Georgia in Congress, immediately challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi on charges of overreach and violation of the Constitution, starting with her use of a magnetometer outside the Capitol chambers after the events of Jan. 6.
“If you let someone violate the Constitution in a small area, that will open it up to being violated in larger areas,” Clyde said.
Clyde also found himself in battles with OSHA over what he deemed improper requirement of COVID-19 vaccines in certain fields.
“It is another example of government overreach,” Clyde said. “In 50 years, OSHA’s record of assuming temporary authority has been overruled in court. They do not have a good record of success.”
With Democrats in control of the House, it has been tough sledding to get through new legislation during these first two years.
But Clyde has spent a lot of his time as congressman trying to improve constituent services.
He said he has helped more than 1,7000 constituents resolve issues they were having with the federal government, whether it was passports, IRS issues, VA bureaucracy and more.
“I have focused on that aspect of the job and really tried to serve the people of the 9th District,” Clyde said.
Clyde has put forth measures to protect the Second Amendment from taxation, as well as protecting the nation’s southern border from illegal immigration.
“The federal government has been taxing the Second Amendment since 1918, and if you can tax a constitutional right, is it really a right?” Clyde said. “They are going to increase that taxation until some people can’t afford it.”
Clyde added that illegal immigrants from more than 160 countries are crossing the southern border.
“Many of those countries fund terrorism,” Clyde said. “We have seen 100,000 Americans die of drug overdoses this year, and a lot of that is due to fentanyl, which is trafficked by Mexican cartels. The House controls the pursestrings, and we need to use that purse to right this ship and enforce immigration laws.”
Clyde said he was dedicated to promoting and defending life, as well as keeping election power with the states.
Clyde also made some controversial comments about the Jan. 6 incursion on the Capitol, calling it a “normal tourist day” during hearings last year.
“Jan. 6 was an epic failure of law enforcement leadership (at the Capitol), which Pelosi is in charge of,” Clyde said. “The Democrats have tried to make this a huge issue because it is their only path to retaining power. They want to focus on Jan. 6 and not the crises President Biden has created – inflation, gasoline prices, supply chain issues.”
Clyde questioned why the Capitol did not have proper security in the first place, but he added that he is dismayed by the razor wire around the facility now.
“I can’t even take the citizens of District 9 on a tour of the Capitol. … We should not accept physical violence,” Clyde said. “We need to be able to redress our government peacefully.”
Souther aims to help solve problems in Congress
By Brian Wellmeier
The Northeast Georgian
Ben Souther, former University of Georgia football player and FBI agent with a background in real estate, is one of four candidates vying for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat – currently occupied by Rep. Andrew Clyde – in the Republican primary.
A father of three, Souther said his children were a motivating factor that compelled him to run for congress.
“Our experience as foster parents, and my time as an FBI agent, really shaped me as far as policy goes, as far as legislators go and as far as legislation goes,” Souther said. “We saw that the folks who were making decisions oftentimes had no idea what was going on in the field, and they were too often just too politically motivated and, in my opinion, promotion seekers.”
Souther said he’s in favor of a small central government and for the U.S. to be more “self-reliant.”
“The issue to me is that our politicians identify the problems but they never articulate solutions,” Souther said. “I feel like we need people in congress who’re problem-identifiers, and as a parent in this community, I want someone who’s a problem solver.”
Souther said he feels that he’s a better fit to represent Georgia than Clyde, who he said “doesn’t live in the district.”
“The incumbent doesn’t live in the district,” Souther said. “It’s nothing personal against him – I did not know he’d run for this seat again, given that the district lines were redrawn, so that’s why we’re here. I love this district so much, and I’d love to represent it.”
Addressing the current shortage of materials and goods nationwide, Souther said he’d look to unclog the supply chain by restoring American manufacturing and lifting federal barriers he believes contribute to the problem.
“All these issues, they go back to the fact that America needs to be self-reliant,” Souther said.
The culture within Washington, D.C., Souther believes, is in dire need of fundamental change.
He said that, if elected, he’d seek to reach across the aisle, stating that on day one he’d introduce himself and speak to congressional Democrats with the intent of creating a greater consensus between the two parties.
“We need to be better advocates of our values as conservatives,” Souther said. “I’m going to walk in there and introduce myself to everyone I’m working with. I’m going to look them in the eye and shake their hand and let them know I’m there to work and solve problems.”
Asked about whether Clyde has downplayed the capital insurrections that took place following the 2020 election, Souther said he didn’t believe he was in a position to comment on the incident since he “wasn’t there.”
“Again, this election is about who can be a leader [and] who can work with others and start changing the culture in Washington D.C.,” Souther said. “We’re ready to sit down and make a plan to fix the problems.”
Boggus runs as ‘average Joe’
By Samantha Sinclair
Michael Boggus thinks North Georgia needs to be represented by an average citizen as was intended by the Constitution.
Boggus, a crane operator from Commerce, wants to be that average citizen serving as U.S. representative for District 9.
He previously ran for the position in 2020, receiving 3.2 percent of votes in a primary with eight other candidates.
Since then, he’s continued fighting for locals, including helping medical workers whose rights were being violated through vaccine mandates.
“We saved about 15 jobs,” Boggus said.
He said he tried calling Rep. Andrew Clyde and Rep. Jody Hice for assistance in the matter for two months, but never received a reply.
“I knew what we were going to get,” Boggus said. “I’m tired of politicians … I think it’s time for an average Joe.”
He was told by the GOP that candidates should be independently wealthy to run for office — something he thinks doesn’t benefit the people, and only made him want to run more.
He doesn’t have money for a campaign, but he will be “willing to put boots on the ground” in the district when not in D.C.
“I bring it back down to the normal people,” he said. “If I’m eating a hamburger, come over and eat a hamburger with me… That’s what we need, not more of these multi-millionaires.”
He doesn’t see himself changing or becoming tied to large corporations if elected – he doesn’t want to have to owe anyone.
He is running under what he calls the “three Rs” — rights, rifles and representation.
The biggest thing he wants to tackle if elected is getting rid of qualified immunity for politicians.
He is interested in better training for law enforcement officers under his Refund and Reform program.
Under the program, funding would be set aside so any and all officers can receive free training that will make them less likely to be sued.
He is also interested in getting rid of unnecessary government agencies.
Boggus said he is a big supporter of gun rights and training, and wants women to feel safe when alone due to responsible gun ownership.
Boggus and his wife Margaret have two daughters.
He is also an avid dog rescuer, and has five dogs that “are all spoiled rotten,” as well as a dog-like cat. He was born in Gainesville, and has lived in the area almost all his life.
Boggus emphasized the importance of voting in the primary, and not waiting until November’s general election.
“This is the voter’s voice,” he said. “They need to get out and see who the fighters are.”
Howard seeks a larger platform for activism
By Matthew Osborne
The Northeast Georgian
J. Gregory Howard has been involved in political activism for more than two decades, and he is hoping to take it to the next level.
Howard is running for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s Congressional District 9.
The small business owner from Lawrenceville also has been highly active in politics, seeking ways to uphold the Constitution and preserve justice.
He has worked on many GOP committees and served on the boards of multiple charitable foundations, including several that help military families.
Howard said on his web site that he is running for Congress “to advance my work in restoring our lost freedoms and the God given rights bestowed on behalf of all citizens in our Constitution. For the last 100 years there has been a relentless assault upon our individual liberties, whether taken by law or voluntarily surrendered. Once gone they are rarely recovered without considerable struggle. It is not that our system of government has failed, it is that we have allowed unconstitutional, prohibited and undue hardship to be placed upon it.”
He did radio shows as well, broadcast in the same lineup as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh in prior years.
He said he strongly believes in the Second Amendment and the Right to Life.
“(U.S. Rep.) Andrew Clyde is a single-issue Congressman,” Howard said. “I have put a lot of focus into election integrity and issues that military families are facing.”
In 2008-09 for his efforts on behalf of the Second Amendment, Howard was awarded the Jay M. Littlefield Award by the NRA for being the top legislative activist in America.
“I am helping to empower the citizens to be able to hold their officials accountable in between elections,” Howard said.
Howard was a write-in vice presidential candidate in 2016 in 31 states on the ticket of Mark Urbach.
Only presidential candidates can challenge the qualifications of other candidates in that race, and the pair brought a challenge against Hillary Clinton for having state money that did not belong to her.
“She and James Comey were on video essentially admitting she was guilty,” Howard said. “The question in a lot of these cases I am fighting comes down to how the law applies and to whom.”
Howard added that healthcare is all mixed up in America.
“We have companies paying for gender reassignment surgery, but people can’t get their insulin,” he said. “We need to see that people are able to take care of themselves first.”
Howard said the national debt is a major issue facing us going forward.
“We’re sitting on a bubble that is about to burst,” Howard said. “If I am able to walk through those doors (of Congress), we may be able to get some of these issues heard.”