The outcome of this year's 8th Congressional District race could hinge on Houston County's military-focused population — active duty, retired, current and former Robins Air Force Base civilian employees — and how they sort through the merits of two candidates with strong military pedigrees.
Democrat incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall is a decorated former Army Ranger and a member of the Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
Rick Goddard, a retired Air Force major general, is a veteran fighter pilot with 227 combat missions in Southeast Asia. The Republican challenger also commanded the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center — the principal organization at Robins Air Force Base — from 1997 to 2000.
Marshall carved a razor-thin 1,751-vote margin over challenger Mac Collins in 2006, winning a surprising 46 percent of the ballots in Republican-rich Houston County. Pundits claimed that Collins’ failure to post a larger Houston margin cost him the election. President Bush won the county handily in 2004 with 66 percent of the vote.
The Houston County vote could be decisive again in 2008.
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