Linder tops newcomer Heckman for US House
Incumbent takes 63 percent of vote

Congressman John Linder's experience in the nation's capitol apparently bade well for the incumbent Republican Tuesday.

Linder handily topped Democrat Doug Heckman, a political newcomer, in the race for the 7th Congressional District of Georgia, which includes much of Gwinnett.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting as of 1 a.m., Linder led his opponent 62.5 percent to 37.5, according to preliminary totals released by the Georgia Secretary of State.

In interviews leading up to the general election, Linder touted his 32 total years in elected office - roughly 16 of that in the House - as a major selling point for his reelection.

A representative said Linder was unavailable for comment late Tuesday night.

Linder had said his plans for office include passing his 21st Center Water Commission Act, trumpeting the FairTax Bill and defending "conservative principles that are in jeopardy."

"I have big ideas," Linder said. "I stand for conservative principles and smaller government."

Heckman leaned on a solid military career - including a degree from West Point and strategic tours in Iraqi - in his campaign for the District 7 seat.

Conceding defeat, Heckman said he'll evaluate the results of the voting and go from there.

"I'm disappointed that the race wasn't close," Heckman said. "The country voted for change, but District 7 doesn't seem to want that."