In his first formal campaign presentation in incumbent Congressman Paul Broun’s home county, challenger Stephen Simpson tonight said Broun is not representing those who elected him and is absent when important business is being conducted in the country.
“We need someone who genuinely cares about his country and his constituents,” Simpson told about 30 persons attending an Oconee County Republican Party meeting. Simpson said Broun “is out of touch” with those who elected him.
Simpson criticized Broun for not being present when President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address in January, saying you have to have your “elbows on the table” to have influence.
“Nobody in this room wants to replace President Obama more than I do,” Simpson said, but elected representatives have a “constitutional duty” to be involved.
Simpson also criticized Broun’s vote in July of 2010 against legislation that made it a crime to sell or distribute animal “crush videos” in interstate or foreign commerce.
Simpson said Broun defended his decision on First Amendment grounds, which is consistent with media reports at the time.
Simpson said Broun’s position on this issue was in conflict with Broun’s proposed Military Honor and Decency Act, which would have prohibited the sale of magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse on military bases.
“Friends, we deserve better than that,” Simpson said.
Simpson, a retired Army officer from Milledgeville, is challenging Broun in the Republican primary in the reconfigured 10th District, which includes less of northeast Georgia and more of central Georgia than the old 10th District.
Broun, an Oconee County physician, was first elected to represent the 10th District in 2007.
Simpson began his presentation tonight with statements of support for small businesses and for farmers, an attack on the Environment Protection Agency and on federal involvement in education policy, and a call for tax reform.
“We are overtaxed and overregulated,” he said at the meeting, which was open to the public.
Simpson also called for a balanced federal budget.
Jay Hanley, chairman of the Oconee County Republican Party, told me after the meeting that the party has not yet invited Rep. Broun to speak before it but plans to do so.
Hanley said Regina Quick, who has announced she will run in the Republican primary in July against incumbent Rep. Doug McKillip in the newly created 117th Georgia House District, will speak at the Feb. 16 party meeting.
That 117th District will include the three northern Oconee County precincts of Bogart, Malcom Bridge and Athens Academy.
McKillip attended tonight’s meeting, which was held at the Watkinsville Community Center, and spoke briefly at the outset.
Both McKillip and Quick are Athens attorneys.
I have uploaded the full video of Simpson’s presentation to my Oconee County Observations Vimeo site.