Columbus Army veteran Jeremy Hunt declares for U.S. House District 2

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Jan. 16—ALBANY — The length of time Sanford Bishop has been in office is not lost on Jeremy Hunt, a potential Republican rival for the Albany Democrat in the fall, who sees a definite intergenerational theme to that matchup.

"Sanford Bishop was elected the year I was born," said Hunt, who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Georgia's 2nd Congressional District this week. "We just think the district needs a new voice."

Hunt, a former U.S. Army captain whose service included time in Ukraine, is an Atlanta native who has settled in Columbus, where he attended airborne training at Fort Benning.

His online campaign announcement has garnered more than a million responses, he said, and he was featured this week on the Fox & Friends morning TV show.

While Bishop's tenure of nearly 30 years is nowhere near the longest — that distinction belongs to John Dingell of Michigan, who was in office for 59 years and 21 days — Hunt thinks it is time for some fresh ideas.

He pointed to high inflation, particularly gas prices, and political divisiveness in the country as themes of his campaign.

"Simply put, I'm running to preserve the American dream for my daughter and families like mine across southwest Georgia," he said. "We are in a time where it's incredibly difficult for people to do everyday things. Inflation is at an all-time high for 40 years.

"Over the last 30 years Sanford Bishop has been in office, our lives have not gotten any better. We are running for what we believe will be economic growth for America."

The candidate said he draws inspiration from his grandmother, Willie Pearl Hunt, who grew up in southwest Georgia and was a trailblazer as a female who attended college in the 1940s at Fort Valley State University (then College).

"She was the first in her family to go to college," Hunt said. "After her, my father went to college, and I went to college (the United States Military Academy at West Point)."

Since leaving active duty, Hunt has relocated to Columbus and he and wife Ky have a 2-year-old daughter, Kinsley.

As a political newcomer, Hunt said he plans to hit the ground running and visit all of the communities in the district, the largest in the state.

"We care about their concerns," he said. "We're running to be a voice for people whose voices have not been heard. We're going out into all the communities and talking to people about what matters."

He also will reach out to the military community, which has a large presence in the district, and the agriculture community, which traditionally has been a strong booster of incumbent Bishop.

"We're really excited to meet those leaders in Albany, getting those folks to the table," he said.

Hunt has picked up the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton less than a week into the race and said he expects to gain traction with other members of Congress in coming days.

He also has gained backing from Dougherty County Republican Tracy Taylor, who said he is backing the candidate on a personal level.

"I'm endorsing him not as the chairman of the (county) Republican Party, but as Tracy Taylor and a fireman," said Taylor, who initially announced as a candidate to run in the race but has suspended that effort to seek the Georgia House District 153 seat. "I'm choosing to support him because I know him. He's a young patriot to the country. My stance as a first responder is that public safety and national security are close to my heart.

"I believe we will have an extremely strong candidate against Sanford Bishop. I will be on the ground helping him in this uphill battle."

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