GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Roger Fitzpatrick, an ex-Marine and former White County administrator, appears to have established himself as the No. 1 contender for 9th District Congressman Doug Collins’ job with a strong performance during the AccessWDUN/Gainesville Times town hall meeting at Brenau Downtown Center last night.
Fitzpatrick demonstrated confidence, knowledge of the issues and likeability in responding to questions from a near-capacity crowd that showed its appreciation with loud and frequent applause for the Cleveland, Georgia native.
In addition to Fitzpatrick and Collins, the 90-minute event featured Lanier Tea Party Patriots founder Mike Scupin, retired Army and National Guard Brigadier General Bernie Fontaine and former 10th District Congressman Paul Broun. The challengers took turns answering questions from attendees as well as tweets from WDUN Radio’s listening audience.
Fitzpatrick, who served nine years in the Marine Corps Reserves and 32 years as a White County teacher and administrator, said veterans would be better served by getting rid of the Veterans Administration and allowing private industry to fill that role. He also called for an end to the Department of Education, saying, “The federal government has no business in education.”
He borrowed a line from President Bill Clinton when asked what is the most important issue facing the nation. “It’s the economy stupid,” he said. But, he added that getting government out of the way so businesses can thrive was a close second.
An issue that has plagued Collins throughout the campaign and has him in deep trouble with voters in the ultra conservative 9th District has been his support for President Barack Obama’s Omnibus bill. The bill provides funding for Planned Parenthood, the Muslim refugee program, sanctuary cities and a foreign worker program that costs Americans jobs at a time of increasing concerns about terrorist threats against the United States.
When Collins tried to explain his vote, he was shouted down by angry voters and his response was drowned out until Fitzpatrick’s Marine training kicked in and he stepped forward to admonish the audience, saying, “Show some respect, please.” The intervention earned Fitzpatrick the crowd’s admiration.
Collins then continued, saying, “The facts are if you could have gotten Planned Parenthood out of the Omnibus bill you would have done it but you couldn’t. The way you get it done is through the reconciliation act or a bill which I had voted for prior to that.” But that explanation failed to sway his opponents.
Fitzpatrick said, “Anything that would violate the moral conscience of a decent individual or the original intent (of the Constitution), you cannot vote for.” He also pointed out that Planned Parenthood is now paying for transgender operations.
Scupin called Collis’ explanation the “Doug Collins Dog and Pony Show” and said, “It doesn’t just happen with Planned Parenthood. It happens with nearly every vote he makes up there. He’s against the Department of Education because of how it effects his wife when she teaches and yet he votes to fund it. This has got to stop. Either you’re for it or against it.”
Broun said, “I would not have voted for the Omnibus bill. I never have.”
Voters also wanted to know if the candidates would support presumptive Republican nominee for President Donald Trump.
Fontaine said, “Of course I support Donald Trump.”
Scupin said, “Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party and as such I definitely will support him. Donald Trump rose to the top of the Republican Party not because of Donald Trump but because of the Republican Party.Their failure to do the right thing when they had the opportunity is what gave him a path to this victory.”
Broun said, “The people have spoken. We need to have the people’s choice be the nominee of our party. I don’t want to see the establishment try to steal away the people’s choice.”
Collins seemed a bit more hesitant, saying, “If Trump is our nominee, I’ll support the nominee. But what about the values Donald Trump has. The question is where do you stand on conservative values? Will you be the standard bearer of our party’s values? The fact is that nobody in this room would be happy with Hillary Clinton in the White House. Nobody who would be happy with a socialist running the White House.
Fitzpatrick said, “I voted for Ted Cruz and would do so again but Donald Trump won the nomination and I will support the nominee. Whoever gets in there — and I sure do hope it’s Donald Trump — you’ve got to work with and if he stands up and does something I don’t like then he needs to be called out on it even if he is a Republican.”
FYN TV “Camera-Candidates-and-Issues”
9th Congressional District Debate. The Omnibus Bill, refugee resettlement, the national debt, Speaker Paul Ryan, sanctuary cities, abortion, and yes even the dog and pony show.
Scroll down to watch video.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Independence Day won’t roll around for three more months, but expect plenty of fireworks when the Hall County Republican Party hosts a forum for candidates for 9th District Congress at its headquarters on Queen City Parkway Saturday at 10 a.m.
In fact, the pyrotechnics have already started. Incumbent Congressman Doug Collins has three other challengers in retired White County educator Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine, a retired U.S. Army and National Guard Brigadier General, and Lanier Tea Party Patriots Founder Mike Scupin.
But so far, Collins and Broun have aimed most of their early firepower at each other.
A Collins campaign ad blasts Broun for “nearly bankrupting his congressional office budget with an excessive amount of taxpayer-funded mail” during a failed bid for the U.S. Senate.
Collins received extra ammunition this week when it was announced that Broun’s former Chief of Staff David Bowser was indicted for supposedly using taxpayer funds to cover the cost of a campaign consultant.
But as politicians often note, you can indict a ham sandwich. Broun a physician who was first elected to represent the 10th Congressional District in 2007 and served until his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014, calls the indictment a “political witch hunt.”
Broun calls his campaign the Fed Up Express and blasts Collins for being an establishment Republican who supported John Boehner for Speaker of the House and voted to pass President Obama’s Omnibus bill which, he said, funds everything from Obamacare to amnesty for illegal aliens to the Syrian refugee resettlement.
Candidate Dr. Paul Broun talks 9th District Congressional Elections and Voting.
Congressman Doug Collins, Representative from the 9th District in Georgia, is wasting no time going after his opponent, Dr. Paul Broun, former Representative from the 10th District.
Broun, along with Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine, and Mike Scupin, has announced his candidacy challenging Collins in the 9th District congressional race. Collins has not acknowledged the other candidates but his campaign released a scorching radio ad about Paul Broun.
Below is part of the transcript from the ad posted by the AJC:
Collins: “I’m Doug Collins and I approve this message….”
Narrator: “Career politician Paul Broun. Former congressman Broun’s hypocrisy is bad, but Paul Broun’s repeated abuse of the taxpayers’ money is even worse.
“Paul Broun claims to be an outsider. But Paul Broun’s been on the ballot 12 times in 26 years for six different political positions. He’s so desperate to further his political career, Broun’s now campaigning for Congress in a district he doesn’t even live in.
“While Paul Broun’s hypocrisy knows no bounds, Broun’s abuse of taxpayer’s money is even worse. In Congress, Broun nearly bankrupted his office budget with an excessive amount of taxpayer-funded mail.And now, former congressman Paul Broun is under a federal criminal investigation into his use of taxpayer money to aid his failed U.S. Senate campaign.
“Career politician Paul Broun’s hypocrisy is bad, but Paul Broun’s abuse of the taxpayers’ money is even worse.”
Broun made the following statement to FetchYourNews.com concerning the attack radio ad from the Collins Campaign:
The ad is false! I’m a doctor, not a career politician. I have never misused government funds. I am not and have not to my knowledge ever been under a criminal investigation. I would expect a Southern Baptist preacher not to do this (ad). The last time I checked God’s Ten Commandments are still in effect. The 9th says Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Maybe God told Mr Collins that The Big 10 don’t apply to him or his campaign.
Since both Dr. Paul Broun and Congressman Doug Collins are Christians it will be interesting to see how much religious mud will be slung during this campaign.