Democrats have been salivating over the chance to mount a serious challenger against Republican Rob Woodall in Georgia’s rapidly diversifying 7th District. Could this be it?
David Kim, the Harvard-educated founder of a national test prep company and the son of Korean immigrants, announced his plans Wednesday to run for the House seat in 2018. He did it with a nod toward Democrat Jon Ossoff, another political novice whose out-of-nowhere campaign has shaken up the special election next door in Georgia’s 6th District.
“I am not your traditional Democrat,” Kim wrote in a fundraising email to supporters Wednesday. “I want to represent those voices who feel like they’re not really being represented accurately. I want to be a voice that’s independent minded — thinking about what’s best for the long term for all of us.”
On his campaign website, Kim discusses starting his company, C2 Education, in his college dorm and growing it into a national business with more than 180 tutoring centers.
The Duluth resident framed himself as the kind of entrepreneurial education advocate who’s badly needed in Washington, and vowed to cut through the Capitol’s “poisonous partisanship and special interest deal-making” in order to “actually work to deliver results for the people of Georgia.”
Kim said Woodall “has been more interested in partisan purity than getting things done for the people” and that he’s been more of a “rubber stamp” for President Donald Trump than a consensus-builder.
Woodall, 47, has held the seat since 2011 after he emerged from an eight-man primary to succeed his former boss John Linder. The Lawrenceville Republican has cruised to reelection ever since, beating his last Democratic challenger by more than 20 percentage points in November. A former lawyer and low-key lawmaker, Woodall is known for his love for policy details and winding oratory about the budget on the House floor.
Depending on who else enters the race — and there are expected to be the others — Kim may be exactly the kind of candidate in which national Democrats have been looking to invest in this pocket of the Northeast Atlanta suburbs. Gwinnett’s new status as a majority-minority county has shifted those hopes into overdrive, particularly given Ossoff’s recent success. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently listed the 7th as one of its target districts for 2018.
The districts was initially drawn to favor Republicans and it still does, according to analysts at sites such as the Cook Political Report. The 7th does not include the more diverse southern portions of Gwinnett but does encompass much of the deeply conservative Forsyth County.
Kim noted in his initial press release that the 6th and 7th congressional districts “have nearly identical partisan makeup.”