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Doug Collins holds onto seat in US House 9th District
Two-term incumbent beats back four challengers in GOP primary
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U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, speaks with his family gathered around him at Lunas in downtown Gainesville Tuesday night. - photo by Erin O. Smith Dawson County News regional staff

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, reclaimed his 9th District congressional seat Tuesday after a scrappy primary fight with four GOP challengers.

Facing no Democratic opposition in November, Collins is now set to win his third two-year term to the U.S. House, starting Jan. 1.

"I'm humbled and honored to be entrusted again to represent the voice of this district," he said. "I wake up every day committed to standing up for our deeply rooted values, curtailing the liberal agenda that seeks to weaken those values, and leaving this nation better for my children."

He needed a majority vote to win outright and avoid a July 26 runoff, and he was garnering 61 percent of the ballots with all 20 counties reporting.

His closest competition was former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who earned 22 percent.

Among the other challengers, Roger Fitzpatrick had 11 percent; Mike Scupin, 3 percent; and Bernie Fontaine, 3 percent.

Collins earned 66 percent in Dawson County, where turnout was only 33 percent of registered voters.

"We're going to keep fighting for what matters here in Gainesville, Hall County and all across the 9th District," Collins said, celebrating the victory with family and supporters at Luna's Restaurant in downtown Gainesville.

To a cheering crowd, he added: "We will continue to take conservative values (to Washington) and we will fight for them every single day."

For Broun, the election results left a bitter taste.

"The negative ads worked the way Doug Collins meant for them to do," said Broun, gathering with supporters at his headquarters off Green Street in Gainesville.

"He spent a lot of money to hurt my campaign and hide his own voting record - which he did very well."

The race got testy at times as challengers worked to depict Collins as the establishment candidate. At debates and otherwise, they criticized his votes, including his support for the federal omnibus bill, which fully funded Planned Parenthood.

The primary had several candidates with ties to Lanier Tea Party Patriots, including Scupin, the group's founder.

Upon returning to Congress, Collins said his top issues are the budget, taxes and "regulatory burdens."

"We need to get a new administration in - hopefully a Republican one - where we can make progress," he said.

Broun, who served Georgia's 10th District 2007-15, said he doesn't know whether he'll make another bid for elected office.

"We'll see. I'm just going to look for the Lord's direction and what his plan is for me," he said. "I'm not sure what that is, at this point."