GOP businessman tries to upend "Broun 2.0"

MONROE, GA -- The flashy introductory videos on YouTube show Jody Hice as a Georgia pastor who loves the bible, the constitution and its second amendment. As a candidate for congress, he embraces the uncompromising qualities of Paul Broun, the incumbent Republican who made a name by saying no to moderation.

"We'll find out when we get there just how often we'll say no, but I'm committed not to vote for anything that is unconstitutional," Hice said at his Monroe headquarters.

Now Hice touts a fresh endorsement from Broun, who left his seat to run unsuccessfully for the senate. And it leaves Mike Collins, a Republican businessman, with the task of wresting the seat from both Broun and his preferred successor. But Collins Broun's departure leaves the district a clean slate.

"When you have an open seat as we have in this case, it gives people an option to take a totally different entire look," Collins said at the trucking company he runs in Jackson.

Collins has the backing of Republicans Newt Gingrich and Karen Handel. Collins says the election is about jobs - and less about views shared by Hice and Broun that favor an evangelical outlook and vilify gay marriage.

"I don't get into that type of talk," Collins said. "I've been out there talking about the economy-- things that people sitting around the kitchen table need to hear about."

Hice dodged a question about his views on homosexuality, only saying that he is opposed to gay marriage. "I'm sure I'm not a nut case," Hice said when asked about some of his opponents' efforts to portray him as such.

Hice spoke in the phone room at his headquarters, where Hice's backers are trying to get their voters to the runoff next week--- an election both sides expect to be razor thin.


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