POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Heckman starts offensive against Woodall

Camie Young

Camie Young

Doug Heckman didn't take long to take a swipe as his competitor in the 7th Congressional District race.

Just an hour or so after Jody Hice conceded in Tuesday's runoff primary, making Rob Woodall the GOP nominee to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John Linder, Heckman sent out a press release about his opponent.

"Woodall apparently had no problem signing away his independent judgment," Heckman said, noting that Republicans had to sign a pledge to the party to qualify for the ballot. "It is the citizens of our country who have been suffering as a result of this kind of politics. Reasonable debate and compromise have no chance when extreme partisans reject moderation."

Heckman, a Democrat, contrasted the GOP oath with the one he took as an Army officer.

"I find it disturbing that someone would take an oath to a political party when they don't even know what party leaders will be requiring of them," he said. "This is what makes Americans question whether Congress represents them or the special interests funding the political establishment."

During the primary campaign, Woodall pointed out that he did not sign pledges to groups such as the tea party because he said he would remain loyal only to the district.

Just hours after polls closed Tuesday, Heckman said the dynamic of the race has changed. All gloves appear to be off.

"We've been laying low and quiet. Now that we know who the opponent is, we will engage the opponent," the Norcross man said. "The tea party obviously considers him part of the problem. Now he's got the tea party and the Democratic party calling him the incumbent."

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.