Another Georgia lawmaker running for Collins' US House seat

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ATLANTA (AP) — A third Republican state lawmaker has entered the race for a heavily conservative Georgia congressional seat, two weeks after Republican Rep. Doug Collins announced he's running for U.S. Senate.

“I am officially running for Congress," state Rep. Matt Gurtler tweeted Wednesday. “My platform is simple — limited government, free markets, & individual liberty.”

Collins announced in January that he's challenging recently appointed GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election in November. That provides an opening for Republicans looking to take his current seat representing Georgia’s heavily conservative 9th congressional district, covering the northeast corner of the state.

State Sen. John Wilkinson of Toccoa quickly announced his candidacy for the seat, followed soon after State Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville.

Gurtler, a home builder, was elected in 2016, at age 27, to represent state House District 8, which covers portions of Rabun, Towns, Union and White counties. He has often clashed with Republican House leaders and has earned a reputation for frequently voting against legislation, including bills sponsored by fellow Republicans.

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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