The 700,000-resident 11th District stretches from Cartersville in Bartow County, through Cherokee County, to west Cobb County including Acworth, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, and Vinings, and finishes in Buckhead and the city of Sandy Springs.
The breakdown is about 10 percent Bartow, 40 percent Cherokee, 40 percent west Cobb and 10 percent Fulton. Lindsey joins former congressman Bob Barr as the 11th District candidates who have announced their campaigns to date.
Gingrey previously announced he is running for the Senate seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie).
Lindsey said he doesn’t consider it a liability that he lives in Buckhead while most of the voters in his district live outside of Atlanta.
“I think your paper had a humorous thing last week, saying the only problem with me is that I was on the wrong side of the river,” Lindsey said. “I like that phrase because it sort of leads me to segue to this: There are bridges across that river, and my history in politics has been that of someone who builds bridges and someone who builds coalitions in order to get things done.”
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, who is not yet endorsing any candidate, served in the House with Lindsey and called him a dear friend.
“I found him to be a man of integrity with a very strong but practical intellect,” Tumlin said. “We served on some pretty good committees, like judiciary, together. He was both intelligent but down to earth. He was a delight to work with.”
With Barr, of Smyrna, already announced that he’s running for the position, and others such as Tricia Pridemore of Marietta and state Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb) strongly considering it, Tumlin said it will be as good a field as the district has ever had both in quality and quantity.
Lindsey, who has served in the House since 2004, said an advantage he an understanding of how to govern by virtue of being a part of the Republican majority, he understands what it means to work with the other side.
“I’m the only elected Republican in the city of Atlanta,” he said. “What that has meant is I have had to come to understand when to fight and when to cooperate. I’ve been able to work with my city on areas of economic development when I thought they were right, and I fought them tooth and nail, as well as the Fulton County government, when I thought they were wrong.”
While Lindsey touts himself as a conservative reformer and consensus builder, one problem some of Georgia’s Republican Congressmen have run into, such as Chambliss, is that when they attempt to negotiate with Democrats, they get blasted by the far right of their party. Lindsey commented on how he would negotiate that problem while still remaining effective.
“One thing you have to remember is that you have to move beyond the loudest voices that are clamoring for the microphone, and you have to step around those entities and go to the people that understand the problems, that understand the complexities, that are living their lives, that are taking their children to ball games and taking their children to school and want to make a better life and focus on them and not necessarily focus on the people that are screaming the loudest. And if you do that, and that’s been part of my philosophy since I got elected, you’re just fine.”
Lindsey said the General Assembly would not have been able to pass the Charter School Amendment without working with Democrats, for instance.
He considers his crowning achievement as a state representative to be HB 200, a 2011 law that targeted human trafficking. Passing that law took working with prosecutors, law enforcement, social workers, church groups and the attorney general’s office — groups that don’t always see eye to eye on criminal matters, he said.
The next time Roe vs. Wade is challenged in the Supreme Court, there is a good chance it will be overturned, Lindsey said. If it is, that will allow Congress to decide what kind of pro-life legislation should be authored.
Lindsey describes himself as pro-life except in the event of incest, rape or to protect the life of the mother. He said he and Georgia Right to Life agree on 98 percent of the subject.
“We disagree on somewhere between one and two percent,” he said. “Someone who is 98 percent of the time with you, you don’t turn into an enemy on both sides, and Georgia Right to Life and I worked very hard together on areas where we’ve been able to find common ground.”
As majority whip, it was Lindsey’s responsibility last year to rally support for a bill that considered fetal pain, a bill Lindsey describes as “one of the most far-reaching pro-life bills that have ever been enacted in this country. Basically the cutoff is now at 20 weeks with certain exceptions.”
Lindsey is an opponent of granting amnesty to the 12 million or so illegal immigrants in the country.
“I don’t think you’re going to have 12 million people going home, but you can offer them temporary work status, provided that they maintain employment, provided that they understand they cannot receive government benefits, provided they pay a necessary fine, they can stay here on a temporary basis as long as they have gainful employment,” he said. “I think that for someone who has crossed the border illegally, I think that is the more realistic view.”
The problem with the 1980s amnesty is it did nothing to secure the nation’s borders, he said.
“Until we secure our borders, all these other solutions in terms of what to do with the people here, we’re not going to be able to put it in place,” he said.
Lindsey said he is opposed to gay marriage, believing it should be reserved for one man and one woman. As for how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the matter this year, he said he doesn’t know.
“I want them to recognize that the issue of marriage is a state issue, and respect the decision, for instance, of the people of Georgia and the constitutional amendment that we put into place (in 2004). That’s how I want them to rule,” he said.
Should the high court order Georgia to recognize same sex marriage, Lindsey said it would not go over very well with the public.
“I would hope that the Supreme Court would recognize the importance of federalism and the importance of the traditional role of the states regarding domestic law and allow each state to decide for themselves that issue. Georgia has made that decision, I respect that decision that’s been made, and let other states make their own decisions as well.”
Born in Atlanta, Lindsey, 54, is a graduate of Northside High School, Davidson College and the University of Georgia’s School of Law.
Lindsey is a founding partner with the law firm of Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, have three boys, one who is a junior at West Point and twins who are sophomores at the University of Georgia.
The couple attends All Saints’ Episcopal Church.