A businessman living in Barrow County is among the Republican candidates lining up to succeed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, who is leaving Congress to run for secretary of state in Georgia.

Matt Richards, a Gwinnett County native who now resides in Bethlehem, recently announced that he is seeking the GOP nomination for the 10th Congressional District in the May 2022 primary. Richards is the owner of Buford-based Legacy Demolition.

In his campaign announcement, Richards said he is a fierce supporter of former President Donald Trump’s “America First agenda” and, complete with a photo of him holding a sledgehammer, said he would “take a sledgehammer to the radical Left’s agenda, fight for our conservative values and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Richards touted himself as a self-made businessman who overcame childhood poverty that forced him to drop out of high school to help his family.

“From sleeping on a cold, dirt floor to building a successful, multi-million-dollar construction company, I’ve been blessed to live the American Dream,” he said. “But that same American Dream is under assault by radical Democrats who are hellbent on destroying our country and way of life. We need political outsiders, businesspeople, and fighters in Washington who can rebuild our economy, safeguard our conservative values, take on the cancel culture, stand up for every day Georgians, and advance President Trump’s America First agenda.”

Richards joined former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who is aiming to win back his old seat, in the race, and Mike Collins, a small business owner from Jackson, also entered the GOP race this week, boasting an endorsement from former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia.

“I’m running for Congress because the radical left is out of control,” Collins said. “The liberals in Washington, D.C., won’t stop until someone stands up to them, and for hard-working Georgians.

“I’m pro-Trump, pro-life and will protect our Second Amendment rights. I’m running to fight for the families and small business owners in my community and around the country. I won’t bow to the woke mob’s cancel culture or [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s job-killing, gun-grabbing agenda.”

Hice and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle are challenging incumbent Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was censured by the Georgia GOP at last weekend’s party convention for refusing to help Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

President Joe Biden carried the Peach State by 11,779 votes, the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Dave Williams of the Capitol Beat News Service contributed reporting on Collins and the secretary of state race.

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