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Lawmakers bid for Collins' northeast Georgia US House seat

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ATLANTA (AP) — Two Republican state lawmakers are running for a northeast Georgia congressional seat, after Republican Rep. Doug Collins announced a bid for U.S. Senate.

Collins announced on Wednesday that he’s challenging recently appointed GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election in November. His announcement provides an opening for Republicans with aspirations to take his current seat representing Georgia’s heavily conservative 9th congressional district, which spans the northeast corner of the state.

State Sen. John Wilkinson of Toccoa quickly announced his candidacy. Wilkinson was elected to the state Senate in 2011 and serves as the chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. Wilkinson said in a statement that he wanted to stand up for the values of the residents of the district.

State Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville jumped into the race soon after. Tanner was elected to the state House in 2012 and serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Tanner said in a Facebook post that he felt called to try to make a difference on the national level.

The candidates will face a primary election in May, followed by a general election in November.

Collins has represented the district since 2013.

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