Tanner sets sights on Collins’ Congressional seat

  • Current state representative Kevin Tanner announced he will be running to fill the seat left vacant by Congressman Doug Collins.
    Current state representative Kevin Tanner announced he will be running to fill the seat left vacant by Congressman Doug Collins.
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State representative for the 9th District Rep. Kevin Tanner announced he will be running to fill the seat left vacant by Congressman Doug Collins when he runs against Kelly Loeffler—and likely several others—in the Nov. 3, 2020 Special Election.
Loeffler was Gov. Brian Kemps’ choice to take the seat vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson’s retirement at the end of 2019.
The special election takes place the same day as the regular election, which will also determine Georgia's other Senate seat.
Tanner said the opportunity to run for a seat in Congress was “not something I looked for or expected. It’s a big step.”
He said he received numerous visits, calls and emails from across the region urging him to run.
“I’ve been blessed to get to know some really outstanding people in North Georgia over the last 30 years. I feel good about the support and commitment of many across the region,” he said.
But the most important support came from his family.
“I prayed about it a lot,” he said, “and talked it over with his family. My wife is very supportive. She prayed about it herself, and feels this is what I am called to do. We both feel it’s important for us to be obedient. We realize it’s going to be a lot of work.”
He also talked with the couple’s four girls—their three natural daughters, a senior and a sophomore in Dawsonville High and a 6th grader in middle school—and their adopted daughter, now grown with two sons.
“I wouldn’t have done this without talking with my family. They are all very supportive, and very excited. The girls have really never known a time when I wasn’t in public service. And they like politics,” Tanner said. “They are willing to work hard right along side their daddy. ”
Tanner has spent the last 30 years in public service of one kind or another, first as a law enforcement officer with the Dawson County Sheriff’s office, then as the Dawson County Manager. Elected to the Georgia House 2012, this is his eighth year serving as District 9’s Representative.
“My entire life I have felt a call to service. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true,” he said.
Tanner, an Eagle Scout, is responsible for placing the first street signs in the city of Dawsonville.
“That was my Eagle Scout project. I raised the money to buy the signs and poles and recruited my fellow Scouts to help put them up. I did it because I wanted to help my community,” he said. “I have family ties to the region and feel a strong commitment to its people. I look forward to getting out on the campaign trail and renewing acquaintances and meeting new people.”
That, he says, is one of the main reasons he is running.
Additionally, Tanner said his years of experience in the district have made him well prepared to serve as the District’s representative in Washington.
“I have a good grasp and high level of experience in the issues that are important to North Georgia. In the private sector, I’ve been a poultry farmer and have deep roots in agriculture. That’s very important to this region. Plus I have a light commercial contracting company and a security firm.
“In the public sphere, I have been involved in education, transportation, mental health and tax reform issues, and other.”
“And I will stand firm in my convictions,” he said. “Though I am unapologetically conservative in my values, I have the ability to still get things done without compromising my values. That’s a big difference between me and other legislators. I have a proven track record of being able to get things done. And we need to get things done in Washington.”
Georgia’s 9th Congressional district includes all of Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White counties and parts of Clarke, Forsyth and Pickens counties.
So far, Tanner will face fellow Republican State Sen. John Wilkinson of Toccoa in the May Primary.