A political newcomer and military veteran entered the race for Georgia’s 6th District on Tuesday with a pledge to be a fresh voice for the GOP in Atlanta’s fast-changing northern suburbs.
Nicole Rodden launched her campaign for Congress with a three-minute video that emphasized her faith, multicultural background and experience in the Merchant Marines and Navy Reserves.
She called the GOP's recent suburban wipeout a "wake-up call" and said the party needs "a new face and a fresh perspective in Washington."
“For too long, liberals have tried to sell the lie that if you are a minority, a female, or a young person, then you must be a Democrat. I am here to show voters that is simply not true,” she said.
“Georgia’s 6th district must have someone who can break the mold in order to defeat Congressman Lucy McBath, and I’m ready to serve,” she added.
Rodden grew up in New York with an Ecuadorian mother and Greek father. Between her time in the military, Merchant Marines and working for the offshore drilling contractor Transocean, she said she’s worked in 25 countries.
“The freedoms we have in America, which so many have fought and died to protect, should truly be cherished,” she said.
Rodden joins a primary field that already includes two well-known Republicans.
Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel raised more than a quarter-million dollars during the first week of her comeback bid, and state Sen. Brandon Beach is focusing his campaign on infrastructure and economic issues.
Democrat Lucy McBath's victory over Handel was the state's highest-profile political upset in the 2018 midterms, and the former gun control advocate has raised heaps of cash and advanced her top legislative priority since arriving in Washington in January. Since then, GOP groups have tracked McBath's every move and tied her to her party's most polarizing figures, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In her introductory video, Rodden vowed to prioritize a set of issues that have also been prominent parts of Handel’s campaign, including bolstering national defense, cutting regulations and fighting human trafficking and the opioid crisis.
One name missing from the video was President Donald Trump’s, a point House Democrats’ campaign arm hit on Tuesday as it doubled down on its 2020 health care message.
“As the Georgia GOP doubles down on rubber-stamping Trump’s disastrous agenda that hurts working families, Rodden will have to answer for whether she stands with her party and supports stripping away health care from Georgia families and driving up the costs of prescription drugs,” said Avery Jaffe, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Tamar Hallerman is an award-winning senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team. She writes in-depth stories about how government action - or lack of it - impacts Georgians' lives, from maternal mortality to water rights. She was previously the paper's Washington correspondent.