Three to compete for newly drawn 11th district seat
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@cherokeetribune.com
September 23, 2012 02:18 AM | 2626 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R- Marietta) will face two challengers in the November election, Woodstock resident Patrick Thompson and write-in candidate Allan Levene of Kennesaw.

On Tuesday, Thompson “re-announced” his candidacy for the newly drawn 11th Congressional District, which includes all of Cherokee and Bartow counties, as well as parts of Cobb and Fulton counties. Although he first announced earlier this year, Thompson said he wanted to remind voters of their choices.

“No one was really paying any attention; that’s what happens in primaries,” said Thompson, 55.

On July 31, Thompson ran unopposed to win the Democratic nomination.

Thompson, who works in technology sales, said he is running for Congress because he feels district residents are not well

represented.

“Like a lot of us in our district, I just don’t feel we’re being represented in Washington,” he said.

“I’m disappointed in the way lobbyist money, the media and partisanship is dictating what is being worked on in this Congress. I don’t see any progress. So I’m running for public service because I think the people out here need a voice.”

Thompson said he has lived nearly 20 years in Woodstock. He is married to Lorraine and has two grown children — one is a Roswell Police officer and the other is in college.

Thompson has worked as a public-school educator, high-tech business manager and small company entrepreneur, according to his campaign. He said his three small companies revolve around renewable energy.

“I’m trying to grow that market for Georgians so that our youth and the future of our construction folks, engineers and finance people will have large projects to work on,” he said.

In 2010, Thompson lost to Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers in the state Senate District 21 race.

If voters look beyond the party, Thompson said he feels he has a good shot at winning the election because of his conservative philosophy and what he thinks is a more politically moderate district. Voters, he believes, will be drawn to his values and decision not to accept money from lobbyists.

“Phil Gingrey doesn’t have ownership on what I would define as conservative,” he said. “He is a (Minnesota Congresswoman) Michele Bachmann tea party member. I am not that far right; I’m right in the middle.”

In the Republican primary, Gingrey defeated challengers William Llop and Michael Opitz with a whopping 80.9 percent of the votes. Gingrey, a physician, has represented the district since 2003 and is campaigning against Obamacare, balancing the federal budget, reducing the deficit and tax reform.

However, Republican Allan Levene chose not to compete in the party’s primary because he thinks he would have lost.

“The more people running in primary, the less chance they have of defeating the incumbent,” said Levene, 63.

Levene, who works in the computer business, said he believes the country is “in a mess” and is headed for worst times. A native of England, he said his belief in the American dream — built on reading his father’s copies of Newsweek magazine as a young man — remains positive, though his feelings about Washington are not the same.

“This was and still is an amazing country,” said Levene, who has lived 42 years in the U.S. “It’s being ruined by Washington and I’ve had enough.”

According to his campaign website, Levene wants to stop overspending, lower corporate tax rates to spur global business competition, persuade banks to lower mortgage interest rates, and even the election playing field for opponents running against incumbents.

Levene said his chances of winning the race will be decided by grassroots support. But as a write-in candidate with little, if any name recognition, he also faces the added hurdle of voters being required by law to spell his name correctly on the ballot.

“If no one knows I exist, then you tell me what my chances are,” he said.

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