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Political novice Tippins taking on familiar faces in gubernatorial race
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RINCON — A former championship swimmer has jumped into Georgia’s political pool.
Clay Tippins, an All-American swimmer at Snellville’s Shiloh High School and a three-time national champion at Stanford University, is running for governor.
Tippins, who grew up in Gwinnett County and served as a Navy SEAL for more than two decades, thinks his business acumen makes him the best choice to be the state’s chief executive. He has worked for multiple corporations as an international consultant.
“What I saw is a vacuum that someone like me needed to fill,” Tippins said during a recent telephone interview. “I looked at the candidates and couldn’t get excited about any of them. That’s why I decided to run.”
Tippins is seeking the Republican nomination in a race that includes Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Hunter Hill, Marc Alan Urbach and state Sen. Michael Williams. The Democrat field features former state legislators Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.
“We feel like we have slipped into a real sweet spot in the field as someone from the outside — someone with a different level of urgency, a different perspective, a Navy SEAL, a successful businessman and a very different approach to problem solving — and we are getting a very good reception from that,” he said.
Tippins expressed disgust with the way Cagle conducts business in the Georgia Senate. He cited the recent killing of a widely supported bill designed to help prevent deaths due to cardiac arrest in youth sports.
Rep. David Clark accused Cagle of blocking the measure because he and the lieutenant governor differ over medical marijuana use.
“This bill would have saved a lot of lives in Georgia,” Tippins said. “For a leader in our state to choose political retribution over saving kids’ lives, I don’t even have the words. People don’t like politicians — they hate bullies — and this is the worst of both all wrapped in one.”
Tippins believes there is a current of corruption running through the Capitol.
“I’m not saying all legislators are bad,” he said. “A lot of them are great public servants. But there is definitely some political corruption and cronyism under the dome and I think it needs to be cleaned out.”

See the April 11 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.