State Sen. Earl “Buddy” Carter announced Monday his intention to run for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 1st District. The announcement was made throughout the day during stops in Savannah, Hinesville and Brunswick.
And already eyes are turning toward the District 1 Senate seat Carter is leaving as state Rep. Ben Watson announced Tuesday his bid for the post.
The Pooler-based Republican, who represents Bryan County, spoke in Hinesville to a crowd of about 20 about his background, values and priorities.
The Port Wentworth native owns Carter’s Pharmacy, which has locations in Pooler, Rincon and Garden City. He laid the foundation of his speech by talking about how he worked his way toward owning a business and paid off his debt.
“I’m convinced that the economic issue of our generation is the federal deficit — we cannot leave that kind of legacy to our children and our grandchildren — I mean, what are we thinking here that we’re going to leave that to them?” Carter said, citing concerns about whether the American Dream will be possible for future generations.
How, then, does he balance the message that federal debt must be eradicated with the area’s reliance on Fort Stewart?
“The No. 1 responsibility of government is the safety of our citizens, no question about it, and I get that. We just have to make sure that we keep our military strong, and I understand how important that is — I also understand how important the economic impact is to areas like Hinesville,” he said.
When asked whether he would vote for base realignment and closure, which the Department of Defense has called for in 2015, Carter said it would defend what the package entails.
“I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m boxed in; I’d really have to look at it and see what all it involves — you know, considering we’ve got four military bases, as long as BRAC didn’t include any of them, I’d be OK,” Carter said.
He said he already has begun raising money, but he declined to say how much his campaign has on hand.
The 1st Congressional District is currently served by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who announced Friday his plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chamblis, R-Ga.
Meanwhile, Watson announced Tuesday in a press release his bid for the open state Senate seat.
“I’ve been a strong advocate in the Legislature for our entire metro Savannah area,” said Watson, who serves District 166, which spans coastal Chatham and southeast Bryan counties.
“As a senator, I can be even more effective in making our voices heard in Atlanta.”
“I was able to have a significant voice and impact on many issues that affect Georgians, including clamping down on drug abuse of prescription medicines with the “pill mill” legislation,” he said. “I also successfully sponsored common sense legislation to protect the redfish for future generations.
“I have not supported tax increases and will continue to work hard to prevent them. Americans pay too much in taxes already and we need continued conservative leadership on fiscal issues.”
Watson is a primary care physician and a co-founder of SouthCoast Medical. He practices internal medicine with a specialty in geriatrics.
He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He and his wife, Bernice, a Savannah-Chatham public school teacher, have three sons and live on Isle of Hope.