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Tea party groups endorse Hice for 7th District race

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The tea party has a new candidate in Georgia's 7th Congressional District race, and this time the decision appears to be unanimous.

The Atlanta Tea Party, along with groups in Gwinnett, Walton and Barrow counties, have endorsed Jody Hice for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 10 runoff.

"We congratulate both Jody Hice and Rob Woodall for making the runoff," Atlanta Tea Party organizer Julianne Thompson said in a press release. "Both are good and honorable men and we congratulate them on their individual accomplishments. This decision was very important to us, so we interviewed both candidates twice, and put forth a pledge for congressional candidates to sign.

"Dr. Hice was the candidate who signed the pledge without hesitation and has vowed to oppose earmarks, fight for tax reform and fight for our core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets," she said. "We feel very confident he will represent the district as a citizen legislator. We feel it is time for a strong new voice in Washington, D.C."

Prior to the July 20 primary, the Atlanta Tea Party supported Clay Cox, a state representative who was involved in the movement for more than a year. The endorsement brought controversy, though, when other tea party groups decided against endorsing a candidate, and individuals in those groups said Hice was their man.

Cox came in the third place in the primary, and this week, groups in Gwinnett, Walton, Walton-Gwinnett and Barrow formally cast their support for Hice.

The Atlanta Tea Party, which is the largest organization in the state, announced its endorsement Saturday.

"Citizens around the country share a common belief that it is time for business as usual to end in Washington," said another organizer, Debbie Dooley. "Jody Hice is strong on the issues and we feel confident he will fight for Georgians and will put his efforts toward reducing government spending and tax reform."