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First Democrat enters the race for Linder's congressional seat

Doug Heckman

Doug Heckman

NORCROSS -- The first Democrat has entered the fray for John Linder's coveted congressional seat.

Doug Heckman, a Green Beret and Army colonel, announced he would run for the District 7 seat for the second time. In 2008, he received 41 percent of the vote in the general election.

Heckman recently returned from his second deployment to Iran, where he received his third combat Bronze Star.

"The message of my campaign is 'Service Before Self' because my decision to run is an extension of my military service," he said. "Public servants should have the same integrity and commitment to problem solving that is required of the defenders of our nation. Self-interested and career politicians have forgotten that they were elected to bring people together and help turn good ideas into reality."

A West Point graduate whose two sons will enter the military institution this year, Heckman said the public needs more combat veterans in government.

"We are used to accountability and effective communication which have been sorely lacking in our congressional district," he said.

Since Linder announced his retirement more than a month ago, the ballot has become crowded, although Heckman is the first Democrat to announce a run.

Seven Republicans will compete in a July primary, including Rep. Clay Cox, former Linder Chief of Staff Rob Woodall, Walton businessman Tom Kirby, Walton minister Jody Hice, Duluth resident James "Jef" Fincher, Peachtree Corners businessman Tom Parrott and Snellville accountant Bill Malone.