The Republican field in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District contest grew on Tuesday with the entry of Milton businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The political newbie is hoping her private sector experience and message of fiscal responsibility will resonate in a primary that already includes former Congresswoman Karen Handel and a state senator.
Greene is the owner of Taylor Commercial, a commercial construction company started by her father five decades ago. She bought him out in 2002 and now renovates apartments, townhomes and commercial buildings in 11 states.
Greene said overhauling the country’s finances would be her top priority in Congress. She pledged to rein in government spending, balance the federal budget and support the Fair Tax, a proposal that would replace federal personal and corporate income taxes with a national retail sales tax.
“If we look at our country as our household, we're going to go under foreclosure because we're overspending. I look at it that way as a business owner and then I also look at it as a mom,” said Greene in an interview. “This is where we have to dial in, and it takes people like me to step into it to solve these problems.”
She also pledged to oppose omnibus spending bills, massive year-end government spending packages that often cost hundreds of billions of dollars and add to the deficit.
Those omnibus measures are one of the reasons why Greene thinks Republican voters will reject Handel, who is seeking the seat she narrowly lost to Democrat Lucy McBath in November. The former secretary of state supported a $1.3 billion omnibus in March 2018, as well as a $320 billion budget agreement.
Greene thinks she can appeal to many of the suburban women who ditched the GOP last year with her experience as a business owner and mother of three. She said she has a path to her party’s nomination because 6th District’s Republican voters are “exhausted with Karen Handel.”
“She's lost seven races in her entire political career… She steps down from seats that she does win so she can campaign for something else,” said Greene. “Basically I would call her professional campaigner, but she loses.”
She called Georgia Sen. Brandon Beach, who is also seeking the Republican nomination, "just another government employee."
Former Merchant Marine and Navy Reserves veteran Nicole Rodden is also in the contest.
Both parties are closely watching the race in the 6th District, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb. National parties, candidates and outside groups are expected to pour millions of dollars into the contest as the GOP zeros in on districts that Trump won in 2016 but Democrats flipped two years later.
Both Handel and McBath have already raised serious sums of cash to bolster their campaign coffers as they prepare for the possibility of a 2018 rematch.
Among Republicans, Handel could be hard to beat. She has sky-high name recognition from the blockbuster 2017 special election and past runs for statewide office, and she’s rolled out a string of endorsements from GOP leaders in Washington and most members of the state’s congressional delegation.
McBath, meanwhile, is doubling down on the health care and gun control messages that helped deliver her to Congress last year.