Liberty County Republicans and conservative independents showed their support for Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, on Tuesday night with a barbecue fundraiser at Bryant Commons. The barbecue supper was provided by George and Babs Holtzman and friends.
Carter, a pharmacist and businessman, is running for Georgia’s District 1 U.S. congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
District 1 includes 17 coastal counties, from Effingham County in the north to Lowndes County in the south. Within that group of counties are four of Georgia and the nation’s major military bases, including Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Kings Bay Submarine Base in Kingston, Fort Stewart in Liberty County and Hunter Army Airfield in Chatham County.
Carter stressed the importance of keeping these four bases in Georgia. He thanked his supporters, including the Holtzmans and former Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, then introduced three key members of his campaign — field coordinator Phillip Fordham, chief fundraiser Peggy Lee Mowers and accountant Carlton Hodges. He also introduced his wife of 35 years, Amy Carter.
He then went on to explain the four most important issues in his campaign.
“The No. 1 issue in my campaign is the national debt,” Carter said. “I’ve lived the American dream, and I want my children and grandchildren to live that dream. We’ve got to reduce the national debt.”
Carter said his second-biggest issue is job creation, and added he doesn’t believe that governments can create jobs. Governments can, however, create an environment in which jobs can be created. As an example, he referenced the success he had as mayor of Pooler, which now is booming with new businesses and other development.
“The No. 1 responsibility of the federal government is to protect our citizens,” Carter said before moving on to his third major issue. “We can only do that with a strong military. Now, my fourth issue is health care. A lot of you are probably like me — you’re going through sticker shock right now. Either your (health) insurance has been canceled or your premiums have significantly increased. As a pharmacist, health care is extremely important to me.”
Carter said he’s owned his pharmacy in Pooler for 25 years. If he is elected to Congress, he plans to keep the pharmacy, even though by law he’ll have to transfer ownership to his wife.
He concluded his remarks by talking about how his campaign is going. Five Republicans are running for the 1st District seat — Carter, Darwin Carter, Jeff Chapman, John McCallum and Bob Johnson. Carter said polls show he is leading among 31 percent of likely Republican voters. His closest opponent is at 18 percent, he said. Because he is running in some of the same counties he represents in the state assembly, he said he has a lot of name recognition and already has the support of 44 percent of Republican voters in the 1st District.
Carter also noted that his campaign is doing well financially. He said his campaign currently has more cash on hand than the other four candidates combined.
The lawmaker emphasized, however, that funds still are needed, especially as the May primary approaches. He expects expenses will increase as they place TV ads. He said although he’ll soon return to Atlanta when the state legislature goes into session, he’s not restricted from raising funds for a federal office. He’ll continue to attend special fundraisers and asked everyone for their continued support and prayers.
Carter’s political career began in 1989 when he became a member of Pooler’s planning and zoning commission. He later served as a city councilman and then mayor. He was elected to the 152nd Georgia General Assembly in 2009.