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Democrats pick veterans to challenge GOP
Former servicemen to face Linder, Broun

The Georgia Democratic Party has worked this year to create a slate of candidates to challenge Republican congressmen, including local Rep. John Linder.

According to an Associated Press report, the men are all hoping their military experience and the popularity of presidential hopeful Barack Obama, if he becomes the party's nominee, will help them win difficult contests against established politicians.

Linder's challenger is Doug Heckman, 48, of Norcross, a West Point graduate and former Army colonel who served as a senior adviser to the Iraqi military in east Baghdad in 2006 and 2007.

In the report, Heckman, who compares his politics to that of former conservative Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, said Linder has done little over a 16-year career other than push for a longshot FairTax plan to eliminate the IRS and shift to a consumption tax.

"He's written a couple of books and it's been a profitable endeavor for him ... but can anybody name anything this guy has ever done?" Heckman said.

For Braselton voters, Bobby Saxon, 46, of Nicholson, an Army veteran and Georgia National Guard major who served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2005, is challenging freshman Rep. Paul Broun of Athens.

Lewis solicits funds for second campaign

Torry Lewis was proud of the support he was able to draw in a 2006 House race funded by a $400 campaign.

But this year, Lewis wants to see if he can do better.

Lewis, a young Democrat who again plans to challenge veteran legislator Pedro Marin for his Duluth/Norcross House district, sent a letter out this week asking for contributions to his campaign.

"2006 was an exciting time in my life as I attempted to do what many Americans will, unfortunately never attempt, to hold a public office," Lewis wrote in an e-mail seeking contributions. "The hot summer was full of ups and downs. I was the youngest person in the state running for the position at the age of 22 against a two term incumbent."

Lewis won 45 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, which he believes was a sign many in the community were looking for change.

"I spent only $400 compared to the thousands spent by my opponent, and look at the results," he wrote, ending in a solicitation. "You can be the difference between an actual change or keeping the status-quo."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.