Above: Paul Broun and Doug Collins
The 9th Congressional District, which covers all of 17 counties and parts of three others in Northeast Georgia, is ranked among the most conservative in the country. As such, the winner of the May 24 Republican primary can bank on two years’ residence in Washington and an annual paycheck of $174,000.
The district’s 715,000 residents, including a Jewish population estimated at fewer than 1,500, are represented by Doug Collins, who is seeking re-election to the seat he won in November 2012 and retained two years ago.
Collins’ chief rival also is seeking re-election, in a manner of speaking.
Paul Broun represented Georgia’s 10th Congressional District from 2007 to 2015. He sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Saxby Chambliss but finished fifth out of seven candidates in the 2014 Republican primary, won by now-Sen. David Perdue.
Georgia was awarded a 14th congressional district after the 2010 census, and part of the 10th District was moved into the 9th District. Though the U.S. Constitution requires only that a House member live in the state he represents, Broun has moved from Watkinsville in Oconee County to Clarksville in Habersham County to be in the 9th.
Three others are running in the Republican primary — Roger Fitzpatrick, Michael Scupin and Bernie Fontaine — but attention has focused on Collins and Broun. The two have exchanged barbs over Broun’s change of address, their conservative credentials and ethics issues that have dogged Broun. Collins has an enormous advantage in campaign funds over his opponents, according to the latest reports from the Federal Election Commission.