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Political Pulse: 9th District US House race is heating up
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If you were in a hole this week, you might have missed the fact that Newt Gingrich came to town.

My mom, specifically, noticed he was wearing a purple tie. I thought more about the ties between him and the candidates for our new seat in the U.S. House.

Gingrich doesn't live in Georgia, but he wants Georgia voters to remember when he did - he represented a Georgia congressional district for two decades and is a graduate of a Columbus high school.

When I asked him about his current Georgia street credentials, the former U.S. House speaker specifically called on Martha Zoller, radio show host and 9th District U.S. House candidate, who is apparently Gingrich's "friend."

Both Gingrich and Zoller were endorsed by former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, on the same day a month ago.

But Gingrich stayed far away from talking about Zoller's congressional campaign or an endorsement.

He was though, during his Gainesville appearance, flanked by Gov. Nathan Deal, who chose Zoller's opponent, Doug Collins, as a floor leader in the state House of Representatives.

Deal also is making a public effort to stay out of that race, but he and Collins had a few of the same campaign resources.

Also in that race, Hunter Bicknell, the Jackson County Commission chairman, released a three-minute online campaign advertisement this week. In it are claims that his leadership has brought more than 2,200 new jobs to Jackson County.

And it doesn't miss the opportunity to acknowledge his opponents.

As for that yet-to-be christened state House seat that straddles Hall and Gwinnett, we now know who won't run for it.

In a meeting of the Hall County Board of Commissioners last week, Commissioner Craig Lutz said he'd been asked - and even considered - running for the new 103.

After considering it, Lutz publicly declined. His neighbor Kris Yardley, who ran for James Mills' old state House seat last November, is still hemming and hawing about whether he'll run.

If he does, he'll have to step down from his newly minted position as head of the Hall GOP.

Lutz chalked up part of his decision to "timing," noting a bid for the General Assembly would create a need for a special election for the South Hall seat on the commission and could possibly leave the district with no representation as commissioners decide on the county budget this summer.

I didn't bother calling Lutz for more on this, because the man's been doing a pretty good job of keeping his New Year's resolution for 2012, which is to not talk to The Times.

Last time I asked him for a comment, he responded in text message with a simple "It's not 2013 yet" and a smiling emoticon.

Ashley Fielding is the senior political reporter for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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