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Aaron Gould Sheinin

Mike Crane seeks to clear field in Third District race for Congress

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Feg. 12, 2015 - Atlanta - Senator Mike Crane speaks from the well in support of SR 7. The Senate passed SR 7 and SB 8, state Sen. Renee Unterman’s anti sex trafficking legislation. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Feg. 12, 2015 – Atlanta – Senator Mike Crane speaks from the well in support of SR 7. The Senate passed SR 7 and SB 8, state Sen. Renee Unterman’s anti sex trafficking legislation. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

State Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, announced his bid for for Georgia’s Third District seat in the U.S. House this afternoon, but it was who surrounded him that made the state Capitol press conference more interesting.

Standing with Crane were many of the more conservative state lawmakers from the district, including Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, and Rep. David Stover, R-Newnan. All three live in the 3rd District, and all three endorsed Crane.

“I drew the short straw,” Crane joked.

But McKoon made the point: “Some people around this Capitol were counting on conservatives in this district dividing themselves and cancelling themselves out. They don’t get it. We are about advancing the ideas of the conservative movement.”

As soon as U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland announced he would not seek re-election, the pieces started to move. Crane’s announcement makes clear he wants to occupy the space on the party’s right flank.

“The message is we’re tired of vending-machine politics,” Crane said. “You push a button, you get what you want. That ends soon.”

And while Crane is the first to announce, he is unlikely to be the last. Talk in the Capitol before Crane’s event was that the local chamber of commerce was courting a candidate and that former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins of Jackson is considering a bid.

Former state Rep. Jeff Brown, R-LaGrange, has told the AJC he’s definitely considering it. Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, told us he’s definitely out.

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