“I might be the guy doing this in the future, but I’m getting out and putting my energy behind getting Todd to run,” said Floyd. “He will have the message and the resources to win and will serve us well.”
Jones, who is widely expected to join the contest, would come with a built-in advantage. The district spans parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, but all the Republicans in the race so far are from Gwinnett. Jones is a second-term legislator from Forsyth.
Floyd, 34, was among a crowd of candidates lined up to replace Woodall, who isn't standing for another term after narrowly defeating Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux last year. The suburban district used to be a Republican lock, but it's become one of the most competitive in the nation.
It was home to the tightest U.S. House race in the nation last year, and Democrats hope to squeeze even more votes from the district in 2020 with a presidential race on the ballot. Republicans are banking on President Donald Trump’s presence on the ticket to boost turnout.
Other Republicans include former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, ex-NFL running back Joe Profit and physician Rich McCormick. State Sen. Renee Unterman, a longtime legislator, is set to formally enter the race on Thursday.
The Democratic ticket is even more crowded. Bourdeaux, who lost to Woodall by less than 500 votes, is running again. State Rep. Brenda Lopez, the first Latina elected to the Georgia Legislature, announced her bid recently. Attorney Marqus Cole, former Fulton Commission chair John Eaves and party organizer Nabilah Islam are also in the contest.
Floyd, who was a machine gunner in the U.S. Marines, had quickly emerged on social media with a string of provocative statements that gained traction with conservatives – and earned the enmity of Democrats.
Both Bourdeaux and Islam slammed his debut ad, which showed him firing a machine gun in combat while he said "I'll fight socialists in Congress the same way I fought terrorists in the desert."
"This is how the Left tries to shut us up," he responded. "They don't want people to hear the truth so they try to ban our message. Or they get Facebook or Twitter to do it for them."