By Joel Hall
Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, the former medical director of the Good Shepherd Clinic in Morrow, has announced she will challenge Congressman David Scott (D-GA) for the 13th Congressional District seat.
The Fayetteville native, and current medical director of the Clayton State University Health Clinic, will seek the Republican Party nomination in July.
In the 2006 congressional election, Honeycutt gained notoriety for raising $1.34 million dollars for her campaign from Republican supporters around the country through direct mail fund-raising.
While tallying $100,000 more than Scott, she lost to Scott by a 2 to 1 vote margin.
Honeycutt said she was a "political unknown" in 2006, but believes an augmented strategy, and a "family values" campaign focused on family, health, and less taxes makes her a stronger candidate this year.
"This will be my first win," said Honeycutt. "One of the big changes this year is that I am not a political unknown. People know who I am and what I stand for."
Honeycutt accused incumbent Scott of having "Potomac fever," being more concerned with the problems of Washington, D.C., than the problems of the 13th Congressional District. She also accused Scott of being "silent and absent" during the Clayton County Public Schools accreditation crisis.
"Congressman Scott spends a lot of time talking about the war in Iraq, but we are dealing with a war here," said Honeycutt. "There are things here that need to be addressed. The school issue has been going on for years. He could have acted as a convener between the superintendent and the school board."
Honeycutt also addressed criticism of her direct mailing fund-raisers, which showed more contributions from the state of California, than the state of Georgia. She accused Scott of relying on political action committees (PACs) and special-interest groups for campaign funding.
On Thursday, Congressman Scott was in Washington, DC, urging General David Patraeus to end the war in Iraq during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Scott's chief of staff Michael Andel, however, spoke on his behalf. He said Scott has many accomplishments, including the Fourth Annual 13th Congressional District Jobs Fair, which will take place today at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.
"Since arriving in office, Congressman Scott has held 36 town hall meetings in every corner of the district, held four jobs fairs bringing thousands of jobs to the district, four health fairs bringing health care opportunities to thousands of constituents, and awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money to area students," said Andel.
"Congressmen Scott is focusing on the economy, health care, education and Iraq. Specifically, he is working on further economic stimulus packages to create more jobs, stop unfair foreclosures and predatory lending, expand health care availability, including PeachCare, create more college loan programs, and bring our troops home from Iraq," said Andel. "Last election, Congressman Scott prevailed with 70 percent of the vote in a new district in a bad year for Georgia democrats. This year, he will be running with Senator (Barack) Obama against a person who opposes Obama."
Andel said Scott was confident he would maintain his seat and that "the democratic majority on Congress will be able to take bold steps to represent kitchen-table issues facing families on the south side of Atlanta."
Honeycutt said in this campaign, she will do more local fund-raisers, in addition to out-of-state fundraising, to reach more voters over party lines.
"We're augmenting that strategy this time with a lot more local fund-raisers and interacting with people, asking them for that contribution, as well as their vote," said Honeycutt. "More and more people are realizing that its not about your party, its what you stand for ... they believe in who I am and what I stand for," she said.