Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Jimmy Carter in Politics Georgia Senate Race Draws Ex-Police Chief

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Jimmy Carter in Politics Georgia Senate Race Draws Ex-Police Chief

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Voters in coastal Georgia's 3rd Senate District will see a familiar name on the ballot when they head to the polls for the July 18 primary elections.

Jimmy Carter, a former police chief in Brunswick, is running unopposed in the Republican primary. He hopes to unseat Democratic state Sen. Rene D. Kemp, a Hinesville attorney who has represented the district since 1992.

Carter, 58, is no relation to the former president from Plains, 180 miles to the west. But he's happy to share a name with that Jimmy Carter, even if the former president is a Democrat.

"People seem to think it will give me name recognition," he said. "It is apt to stick more deeply than if I said my name was Robert Aspenwalt."

Despite his name, Carter will have a tough time ousting the incumbent in the traditionally Democratic district, said Michael Binford, a political science professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Still, the familiar name adds interest to the race, Binford said.

"I think it will probably help him a little. I think it'll get him a few votes. There are people who are confused, but that's not usually enough to win an election."

A lifelong Republican with 35 years of law enforcement experience, Carter was U.S. marshal for southeast Georgia during the Bush administration. He was with the Brunswick police for 25 years and now serves as chief of security for Southeast Georgia Regional Medical Center.

He has never held elected office, but considers that an advantage.

"I don't owe anybody," Carter said. "I can represent the people as they need to be represented. I'm there for the hardworking, law-abiding people."

Kemp, 64, is taking the challenge seriously. "Anytime you have an opponent, you have to be concerned," he said.

Republicans have been gaining strength in the 3rd District, which covers Long, Liberty, McIntosh and parts of Bryan and Glynn counties. Kemp had his first GOP opponent in 1998 but won re-election with 58 percent of the vote. …

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