Georgia 7th: A Republican military veteran joins the race

Republican Harrison Floyd is running for Georgia's 7th District.

Republican Harrison Floyd is running for Georgia's 7th District.

A Republican military veteran entered the race Tuesday for Georgia’s 7th District with a promise to combat “domestic socialism” and government overreach, joining a crowded contest to represent one of the nation’s most competitive House seats.

Harrison Floyd made his political debut with a 30-second video that emphasized his service in the U.S. Marines before flashing to images of unrest in Venezuela and pictures of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two of the GOP’s favorite targets this election cycle.

“I’m running for Congress because my family and I didn’t fight for our freedoms to allow our country to fall to socialism,” he said in the clip. “I’ll fight socialists in Congress the same way I fought terrorists in the desert. So help me God.”

Floyd, 34, joins a string of Georgia Republicans running for federal office in 2020 who have focused their message on Ocasio-Cortez and other democratic socialists in their introductory pitches to voters. Many of the Democrats in the race, meanwhile, are pitching themselves as pragmatic progressives.

At least eight candidates have already lined up to succeed U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who is retiring after narrowly winning a fifth term last year. The district, which encompasses parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, has transformed from a virtual GOP lock to a fiercely competitive contest.

It was 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 help energize turnout.

Floyd will face former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, another first-time candidate running as an outsider, in the GOP primary. Ex-NFL running back Joe Profit is also running as a Republican, and state Sen. Renee Unterman is widely expected to jump in the race.

The Democratic ticket is even more crowded. Carolyn 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 last week. Attorney Marqus Cole, former Fulton Commission chair John Eaves and party organizer Nabilah Islam are also in the contest.

Floyd was a machine gunner in the Marines who served overseas during three deployments, including several combat operations in Iraq. A graduate of George Washington University, he’s a former vice president of the Black Conservative Federation and worked with several veterans-related groups.

In a statement, Floyd said he was ready to “protect the 7th District from a runaway government and its overreach.”

“Our country has fought against Nazi fascism, Soviet communism, and radical terrorism,” he said. “The battle of this decade will be remembered as a fight against domestic socialism. I am ready to fight back against identity politics, entitlement, and elitism.”