DAHLONEGA, GA -- Doug Collins doesn't like to say he's political insider. But the state representative and floor leader for Governor Nathan Deal cheerfully touts his experience as he tries to make the leap from the legislature to Congress.
"It's just a matter of working in the system," said Collins outside a hardware store in Dahlonega. "Understanding how legislation passes, actually passing tax cuts, actually making smaller government-- that's what I've been doing for the last six years."
Collins is campaigning in a 20-county, solidly Republican district newly created by the legislature. And in this race, his political credentials are viewed as a liability by Martha Zoller, the woman running against him.
"I think there's a real difference between a kind of more-of-the-same kind of politician who thinks it's his turn, and somebody who's a firebrand conservative who says 'why are we doing it this way?'" Zoller said at her campaign office in downtown Gainesville.
Zoller's supporters tout her experience as a talk show host on WDUN radio-- while playing the role of political outsider. Zoller has never held political office.
Both candidates lean right and wave the Tea Party flag. Voters have seen them disagree sharply, but mostly on the edges of Republican ideology. Kris Yardley, chairman of the Hall County Republican party, says Republican voters will be well-represented if either candidate wins Tuesday.
There is a third candidate in the race. His name is Roger Fitzpatrick. He's a retired school principal, and he's raised very little money. But he may have just enough support to throw the race between Collins and Zoller into a runoff.