Southwest GA race could decide battle for U.S. House

Sanford Bishop

With a week to go before election day, Democratic incumbent Congressman Sanford Bishop and Republican State Representative Mike Keown spent Tuesday rallying their supporters in Albany.

"We're ready to get to next Tuesday and get the vote gone and see what the will of the people is," said Keown.

"I would hope that the people in our area would look at that record â" at my record of delivering for the people and extend my contract for another two years," said Bishop.

Keown and other local Republican hopefuls welcomed Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and the Jobs Bus Tour to the Thronateeska Heritage Center.

Bishop and his supporters gathered at the Dougherty County Courthouse where several local officials urged voters to return the nine-term Congressman to Washington.

Despite the often-negative tone of the campaign, the candidates agree on the major issue that's driving the electorate: Jobs.

"As we go forward, we want to make sure we have an atmosphere where jobs will come back," said Bishop. "We've had a tremendous economic downturn."

"People are concerned about how they're going to pay their bills, whether they're going to have a job, how they're going to take care of their family," said Bishop.

The contest between Bishop and Keown is generating significant national interest. For one thing, it's the first serious challenge Bishop has faced in recent memory. But with control of Congress hanging in the balance, every race is seen as critical and potentially decisive.

Isakson â" who faces his own reelection challenge from State Labor Secretary Michael Thurmond â" likes his party's chances in November, especially in the House.

"It looks like the House of â" the U.S. House will flip from the Democrats to the Republicans," said Isakson. "That's what all the pundits are saying."