Two more candidates throw hats in Linder's ring

LAWRENCEVILLE — With just two weeks left until candidate qualifying, two more congressional candidates are entering into the race to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder.

Jody Hice, a conservative radio talk show host who made headlines in 2003 leading the fight to keep the Ten Commandments in the Barrow County Courthouse, announced this week he would run for the post, and James "Jef" Fincher is expected to make a similar announcement today.

The two Republicans bring the total to five men to face off in the July primary.

Hice helped raise funds to help the county fight an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, and in 2008 challenged an Internal Revenue Service code that threatened the tax-exempt status of churches.

"The economic and military greatness of the United States and the uniqueness of American liberty are endangered by the left-wing folly of President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress," the Walton County man said. "As a member of Congress I will be loyal to the Constitution and I will fight to restore fiscal and moral sanity to government. We must stop outrageous federal spending."

Hice listed campaign priorities of cutting out bailouts and stimulus packages, repealing the president's health care reform package and restoring the American Dream by re-establishing free market economics, as well as getting people back to work and abolishing the current tax system.

Fincher, a longtime Duluth volunteer who has worked as a flight attendant and a real estate broker, has scheduled an announcement at 9 a.m. today at Duluth City Hall.

Fincher has rallied in Washington for the Tea Party movement and wants to take a stand in Congress.

"I am running for Congress because I could no longer sit by and watch as the Democrats in power put the futures of my two daughters in peril," he said. "I have been involved in the community for 25 years, and the 7th District needs someone in Congress who is ready to fight the battle for conservatism every day, and who also understands the needs and values of the people he is serving."

Fincher is past president of the Duluth Rotary Club, and he has served on the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation board and the Gwinnett Council for the Arts, as well as the Duluth Fall Festival Committee.

Hice and Fincher are expected to join state Rep. Clay Cox, Walton businessman Tom Kirby and Mike Woodall, Linder's former chief of staff, in the Republican primary. No Democrats have announced a run for the seat, which Linder has held for 18 years.