As the special election race heats up in Georgia’s 6th District, there’s another campaign brewing in the 8th.
Danny Ellyson, an openly gay Warner Robins native and “progressive Republican,” will challenge incumbent Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton) in the midterm election, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Ellyson is a business owner and disabled veteran of the war in Iraq, and is supported by the Brand New Congress Political Action Committee. Brand New Congress was started by a group of Bernie Sanders supporters and pushes “for evicting Washington’s ‘corrupt and complacent political establishment,’” while emphasizing many of Sanders’ key policies espoused during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Ellyson, however, told the AJC he’s not a Sanders candidate.
“The progressive nature of what we’re doing, and I do identify as a progressive Republican, is not about just throwing laws up because laws can be thrown up,” he said. “It’s simply saying that I believe in taking away laws that are not productive. I believe in the restructuring and the evaluation of everything that’s in existence. Some things need to be removed and some things need to be created and negotiated.”
According to Ellyson’s website, he believes “in what the Republican party IS, not what they’re doing or who’s in office.”
Scott, according to the AJC, has not announced candidacy for 2018, but his campaign team is active. In 2015, Scott joined fellow Congressmen Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. Buddy Carter, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, former Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Jody Hice in signing a letter to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, urging him to reinstate former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Cochran was terminated following a book he published that included homophobic and anti-LGBT language, as well as anti-Semitic remarks.
In the letter, Scott and his fellow legislators claimed that the termination violated Cochran’s “religious freedom.” According to a 2010 survey by the Christian Coalition Survey, Scott opposed same-sex marriage.
Ellyson, on the other hand, is married to his husband Nate. The couple has two children and they run a small landscaping business in Houston County.