Andrew Clyde, owner of an Athens firearm business, is running for Georgia’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Clyde, a Republican, is a U.S. Navy veteran and “is running on a platform of limiting government and expanding individual freedoms,” according to his campaign announcement.
Clyde was hit by civil asset forfeiture in 2013, when the Internal Revenue Service confiscated about $940,000 from his gun shop, Clyde Armory. Federal agents ultimately found no issues and returned $900,000 to Clyde.
The experience inspired Clyde to go to Washington D.C. to advocate for civil asset forfeiture reform. Clyde had been accused of “structuring,” or setting up bank deposits in order to avoid reporting to the IRS. The RESPECT Act, signed by President Donald Trump in 2019, changed IRS rules to only allow forfeiture for “structuring” if the money comes from an illegal source or is used to hide illegal activity. Prosecutors are now required to demonstrate probable cause that the seized money was somehow used illegally.
“I never intended to run for public office, but this experience showed me there is a very thin line between ‘We the People’ running our government and our government running us,” Clyde said in a statement. “This is the fight of our lifetime, and I won't back down.”
Clyde’s Navy career began when he earned his commission as an officer from the University of Notre Dame. He served in the Navy for 28 years, including three combat deployments to Kuwait and Iraq. He earned a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals and a Navy Achievement Medal, among other awards.
After his Navy service, he settled in Athens and earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia in corporate finance and entrepreneurship. He opened Clyde Armory in 1991, and the business also has a second location in Warner Robins.
Clyde and his wife Jennifer live in Jackson County and attend Prince Avenue Baptist Church.