Ben Souther, a former University of Georgia football player and Murrayville native, announced this week he will mount a primary challenge to incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde for Congress.
“Whoever represents this district needs to live here, be plugged into this district and know it like the back of their hand,” Souther said.
Clyde was drawn out of the Ninth District when legislators drew new district lines last fall following the 2020 Census. Clyde, of Jackson County, now lives in District 10, but he announced last fall that he would still defend his current seat. Congressional candidates are not required to live in the district they represent, as long as they live in the state.
Souther, 30, hopes his longtime residence in the district would give him an edge.
His top issues include ending federal mask and vaccine mandates and securing the southern border.
“Our states are beyond capable of taking care of themselves and running themselves,” Souther said.
Souther spent two years as a special agent with the FBI. Since leaving the bureau in November, Souther has started a real estate firm, North Georgia Company.
“If we don’t start making better decisions on crime and national security, then it’s obviously going to break out and get into our district and be something that we have to confront in the future,” Souther said.
Souther played football at Chestatee High School and continued at UGA. He said he enjoyed the college football championship game at home with his wife and three children.
His family has lived in Hall County for seven generations, and he started his campaign in Murrayville.