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Collins asks for equal air time as Zoller
Both running for 9th District seat, along with Bicknell, McDuffie
CONGRESSMartha Zoller
Martha Zoller

Congressional candidate Doug Collins has asked Cox Media Group to offer him the same amount of air time Martha Zoller receives on WXKT-FM 103.7.

Zoller hosts a daily three-hour conservative talk show Monday through Friday on the station; her campaign manager called the letter an attempt to kick her off the air.

"I think this is kind of the typical professional politician-type tactic to try and kick Martha off the radio and try to prevent her from being the conservative voice," campaign manager Ryan Mahoney said.

Zoller has stayed on the air since September, when she joined Collins in the race for Northeast Georgia's future 9th congressional district, which is anchored in Hall County.

Jackson County Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell and former Hall County Chamber of Commerce leader Clifton McDuffie are also seeking the seat.

In a letter to Doug Franklin, president of Cox Media Group, Collins alleges that Zoller has "discussed her campaign on multiple occasions" during her morning talk show.

Franklin's assistant told The Times Monday that the Cox president had not yet received the letter, dated Friday, Dec. 9.

The assistant referred all questions to WXKT station manager Scott Smith.

Smith did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Mahoney said Zoller also had not received a copy of the letter Monday.

In the letter, Collins states that the establishment of Zoller's fundraising committee with the Federal Election Commission deems her an official candidate in the race, which should allow him to request equal time on the station.

"She is a federal candidate, and the (Federal Elections Commission) deems her to be a federal candidate," said Collins' campaign consultant, Chip Lake. "...If she's trying to make an argument that she's not a federal candidate, why did she file papers with the FEC?"

Zoller does not plan to leave the show until qualifying for the election in the spring.

Mahoney said Zoller is "super careful" that she does not bring her candidacy into the conversation of her daily talk show, even warning callers that the campaign cannot be a topic of discussion.

"Martha has done her best to keep (the conversation) to the topic of the day," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said Collins is welcome on the show at any time.

Rules for the Federal Communications Commission only deal with legally qualified candidates.

Legally, Zoller can stay on the air until she qualifies for the race with the Secretary of State's office in the spring.

If WXKT chooses to keep Zoller on the air after she qualifies, other qualified candidates in the Republican primary election for the 9th District must request equal time on the station within seven days of her qualification, according to FCC rules.