David Vogel, a Madison County Democrat, announced his plans Saturday to run for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The seat is currently held by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville.
Party primaries are set for May 20, the general election for Nov. 4.
The 9th District covers 20 North Georgia counties, including Hall and Madison.
Vogel, 72, held a meet and greet Saturday at the Gainesville Civic Center to announce his candidacy. The retired professor said he has a “no slogan” approach to policy, with an emphasis on “evidence-based practices” and an eye-toward educating voters on the issues he think are most pressing.
His foremost platform is economic. There was a sense of urgency in his criticism of policies he said have led to disproportionate increases in wealth for the top 100th of the 1 percent of Americans.
“Financial aristocracy. It’s happening,” he said, later adding that, “it’s not hard to imagine a future where every American reaches adulthood in debt and stays in debt the rest of their lives.”
The rally offered a diverse mix of supporters across several Northeast Georgia counties. One hot topic on party members’ minds was health care reform, which has seen an onslaught of negative coverage as implementation of the Affordable Care Act rolled out last fall.
Vogel said “lies and deceptions have given Obamacare a black eye.”
“Businesses are lying about Obamacare as an excuse to cut back on your benefits,” he said.
On immigration, he said “nothing will be accomplished” by Congress avoiding a way to find a pathway to legal citizenship.
“It’s sad for the kids who grow up having to stay under the radar,” he said.
Vogel said he was “slaughtered” in a previous run for the state House, and is realistic about his chances of winning in the heavily Republican district. But he said he sees a silver lining any solid campaign can foster for the party at large.
“I think I’ve been helpful in giving some dead county (Democratic) parties started in the southern part of the 9th District, and I hope to be helpful to all 20 counties in the 9th District before this is over,” he said.
Mobilization of the party in Northeast Georgia, he said, can help meet another one his goals: More Georgia Democrats reclaiming statewide offices.
“Statewide, candidates who are Democrats have been getting 47 percent of the vote,” he said. “They do that by getting 75 percent of the vote in Atlanta, where there isn’t much room for improvement, and 20 percent of the vote here, where there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Vogel is a retired researcher and professor with a Ph.D in physiology and biophysics from the University of Iowa.
With him at the rally were his wife, Leah Vogel, a Brazil native and naturalized U.S. citizen, and the two teens they raise, their son and a Guatemalan teen they took under their wing. Vogel has an adult daughter from a previous marriage.