Lindsey, the majority whip in the State House of Representatives and an Atlantan, is running in the Republican primary for the 11th District House of Representatives seat now held by Rep. Phil Gingrey, who has announced for the U.S. Senate. Roughly 80 percent of the district’s Republican voters are in Cobb and Cherokee County. Being known as a “Buckhead lawyer” is a dog that won’t hunt well in these parts.
Lindsey says he is a product of hard work, not silk-stocking privilege. “I had my first job at 14 packaging boiled peanuts. I went to Davidson College and UGA law school on scholarships, student loans and part time jobs from highway construction to selling door-to-door to working in my dad’s vending machine business.”
He adds, “Three friends and I started our present firm from scratch. Over the past 23 years we have grown to about 80 employees in three states. I know the difficulties small businesses face because I deal with it every day.”
As for geography, Lindsey says, “When I ran for the House in 2004, I came from one of the smallest areas of the district and won,” he said. “When I was asked to run as the whip in the House, I was the only candidate located inside the Perimeter. My opponents had much larger geographic bases. Still, I won. I think the people of the 11th District are more concerned about who can most effectively represent their interests than where I lay my head at night.”
Lindsey comes into the race with the second-most cash on hand, $161,673, including $35,000 in loans to his campaign from himself. Much of that money has come from the Atlanta area.
“That is to be expected,” he says, “These are the people who know me best, but this race is just getting underway. We are six-and-a-half months out. You will be seeing more evidence of support for my campaign in the rest of the district.” Lindsey cites the endorsement of Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison as evidence of that fact. Right now, he says, he is concentrating on face-to-face contacts throughout the 11th district.
Lindsey describes himself as the “common sense conservative” candidate. He talks about the things that need to be changed in Washington, all with which his Republican opponents would agree: Cut government spending, secure our borders and stick a fork in the turkey known as Obamacare. No surprises there. But as a rookie congressman, how could he make a difference?
“I learned early in my law career and as a legislator that if you work hard and focus on the details you will get noticed early and will gain the respect of your colleagues,” he states. “That’s the reputation I have earned in my law practice and in the Legislature. I would carry that over to Congress.”
Lindsey says one of the things that Republicans need to do is to show the American people they can govern better than the Democrats. One of the keys he believes is that Republicans need to understand the difference in principles and tactics. He says, “We need to stop dividing ourselves according to our choice of tactics and unite behind our conservative principles. My experience has been that if we can identify the problem and agree what the solutions are, then the tactics will take care of themselves.”
He cites recent polls in which a majority of Americans agree with Republicans that Obamacare is an economic train wreck and that before you raise the federal debt limit you need to have a long-term plan to reduce government spending. Yet, only 24 percent of Americans view the Republican Party favorably. He says, “That tells me most Americans agree with Republican principles but don’t think we know what we are doing.”
That tells me that many hardline Republicans don’t have a clue who the real enemy is. To quote Pogo the Possum, “We have found the enemy and he is us.”
Lindsey says he is a “big tent” guy. “All I ask is that everyone come into the room in good faith,” he says. “We may all have different ideas on what the tactics should be but we need to listen to each other and respect each other’s points of view.”
Edward Lindsey has a reputation in the Legislature for developing consensus among his Republican colleagues on a variety of thorny issues. And, as I found out from being on the opposite side of him in the charter school amendment debate last year, he is also a fierce competitor. He will need both these skills in the campaign.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.