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South Ga. Democrats seek challenger to U.S. Rep. Austin Scott in 2014

Austin Scott ran unopposed in 2012, but is likely to have Democratic challenger in 2014.
Austin Scott ran unopposed in 2012, but is likely to have Democratic challenger in 2014.
File Photo.

On Tuesday, January 14, district representatives of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) had set up a mobile office at Wiregrass Technical College in Valdosta.

This was an effort to provide "constituent assistance" in regard to federal issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security along with veterans' benefits.

Scott was first elected to Congress in 2010 and is likely to run again for re-election in 2014.

The Ashburn, Georgia native hasn't had much competition during his relatively short tenure in office, but if he attempts to run for a third term, a progressive Democrat will be ready to challenge in 2014.

In 2012, Scott did not have a general election challenger.

A strong progressive Democratic challenger can win, but he or she must be able to articulate how obstructionism from the Republican Congress has hurt the economy in GA-8 and the nation.

Plus, the progressive Democrat must be able to articulate why the Affordable Care Act will help people and be a strong proponent to voting rights.

Scott represents the Second Congressional District which encompasses over twenty counties in Central and South Georgia and include cities such as north Macon, Warner Robins, Valdosta, Tifton, Moultrie and Thomasville.

A Democratic candidate will have to receive higher turnout in Democratic-leaning precincts and this comes down to better messaging and organization by county parties.

Even though Republican candidates have been successful in recent election cycles, a recurring theme is that Democratic-leaning precincts have the lowest participation rates in many Central and South Georgia counties. This has to change.

One example is in Colquitt County, a rural area in which its largest city is Moultrie.

The largest and most progressive voting precinct in Colquitt is the Shaw voting precinct. To provide some context, the state average for voter participation was seventy-two (72%) percent.

Despite this precinct voting for President Barack Obama, only fifty-seven (57%) percent of the registered voters in this precinct bothered to vote in November 2012.

Barack Obama lost Lowndes County in 2008 and 2012 by approximately 4,000 votes, but there are tens of thousands of unregistered voters in the 15th most populous county in the state of Georgia.

In Lowndes, the highest performing precinct in regard to participation are West Valdosta's Trinity Presbyterian precinct and North Lowndes' Hahira precinct.

The precincts with the lowest participation reside in the city of Valdosta. For a serious Democrat wanting to win against a Republican, this trend has to change.

Lowndes has the second largest population center in the Eighth Congressional District.

Scott resides in a district that has Robins Air Force Base. However, the two-term congressman had received criticism from some constituents about his handling and primarily the Republicans' role in allowing last year's shutdown which impacted millions nationwide and thousands in Central and South Georgia.

Many Georgians are still hurting due to a tough economy which has been made worse by previous repressive Republican policies and now efforts to provide a helping hand for the disenfranchised is met with obstructionism or efforts to defund or undermine programs.

Austin Scott's support of conservative legislation such as last year's Farm Bill would have adversely affect two million Americans nationwide --many who live in Georgia that need food assistance.

Scott had released a statement in August 2013 about the Farm Bill

“I voted today in support of Georgia’s farmers and the one in seven Georgians whose livelihoods are directly linked to the agriculture industry. The FARRM Act would have made significant reforms to commodity programs, while also cutting $2 billion annually from food stamps and implementing much-needed reforms to the SNAP program.

Unfortunately, the liberal policies put in place by Pelosi and Washington Democrats in 2008 will remain the law of the land and federal spending will continue to increase unless another bill is passed.”

Scott's goal was to stigmatize the working poor, the disenfranchised and to give incentive to states to make it more difficult for people on the state level to qualify --especially states with Republican governors such as Georgia to take federal money.