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Spurred by Capitol attack and Jan. 6 vote, Herring aiming to unseat Carter
Wade Herring
Wade Herring - photo by photo submitted
I know Mr. Carter. He is not an abstract person to me. We go to church together and he knows better (than to believe false election claims). I know he knows better.
Wade Herring

RINCON — Wade Herring didn’t just toss his hat into the political ring. He threw his whole body and soul into it.

A Savannah Democrat, Herring felt compelled to try to unseat U.S. House District 1 Rep. Buddy Carter after the longtime Republican incumbent voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election. The fateful vote occurred Jan. 6, 2021, the same day more than 2,000 supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the counting of electoral votes that formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.  The act of terror, which lasted several hours, was rooted in false claims of election irregularities.

“(The insurrection) was the bright line in the sand,” Herring said. “First of all, I’m an American but I’m also a student of history and I’m a lawyer. My career has been about following the rules and rules exist so that everybody gets a fair shake.

“With an election, it’s fundamental to our democracy that there is a smooth transition of power, a peaceful transition of power, and Americans have always prided themselves in that. That’s what makes us different from so many other countries in the world.”

Herring believes the insurrection was stoked by Trump and other Republican officials. In a recent court filing, the panel investigating the insurrection said there is enough evidence to suggest that the former president might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy as he fought to remain in office.

“... it was not a coincidence. It was not spontaneous,” Herring said. “It was premeditated and it was planned, and then that night — even after all the horrible events of that day — Buddy Carter stood on the floor of the House  to vote to overturn the election.”

Carter’s vote dismayed Herring greatly and his concern about it hasn’t subsided a bit.

“Savannah is the kind of town where you know your congressman. I know Mr. Carter,” Herring said. “He is not an abstract person to me. We go to church together and he knows better (than to believe false election claims). I know he knows better.

“It was offensive, it was disappointing and it was saddening. It’s still hard for me to talk about it.”

Herring said a cult of personality has been built around Trump.

“That is also frightening,” Herring said. “What the political process is supposed to be about is our nation and looking ahead for our nation, not looking behind it. It’s full speed ahead.

“It’s much, much bigger and more important than any one person.”

Herring called for common decency and respect for others to return to Washington, D.C.

“I’m blessed that my mother is still alive,” he said. “I wouldn’t bring Mr. Trump home to meet my mother. I wouldn’t bring him to Sunday dinner to meet the preacher.”

Herring said the events of Jan. 6 are the primary reasons he decided to challenge Carter but they are not the only ones.

“I do think his conduct on that day indicate that he is not putting the people of the First District first,” Herring said. “He is not putting the long-term interests of the nation first. He is putting his political interests and his personal interests first.

“He’s said he didn’t even want to be in the House. He wanted to be in the Senate but he didn’t want to run against Herschel Walker. He’s told us that his interest really is not in the House of Representatives.

“His interest is in advancing his political career. He’s told us that. We don’t have to read between the lines.”

Herring said a 2018 Camden County land purchase is another example of Carter putting his personal interests above those of his constituents. The congressman bought 220 acres of wetlands and 250 acres of higher ground zoned for residential development. It is located about 10 miles southwest of the proposed site of Spaceport Camden, a project that he supports.

“And he is now suing Camden County because they raised the tax value on the property after he paid a large amount of greatly in excess of the previous assess,” Herring said. “He didn’t disclose the deal at first. He got caught.

“Then he said it wasn’t an investment. It was for a personal fish camp.”

The 2020 tax assessment that Carter appealed put the land’s value at $274,000, about an eighth of what he paid two years prior. According to reports, Carter wants either a freeze on the assessment at the 2020 level for three years — saving him about $30,000 in taxes —  or another shot at a hearing on his property tax appeal.

According to Camden County records, Carter paid $2.05 million for the land to Challenged Investments LLC. 

Herring, a pharmacist, also chided Carter for his views on Medicare and the ability to negotiate drug prices. He asked, “Whose pocket book is he looking after?”

Carter’s estimated net worth in 2019 was $66 million, making him the 10th richest member of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a 2019 ranking by

“He’s a career politician and he’s one of the wealthiest members of Congress,” Herring said.

In order to unseat Carter this fall, Herring must defeat Joyce Marie Griggs in the May 24 Democrat primary. Carter beat Griggs soundly in 2020, garnering nearly 60 percent of the vote.

“Mr. Carter has never had a real challenger so he’s never had to be held accountable for his positions and his conduct,” Herring said. “I intend to hold him accountable.”

Herring, who believes he will receive substantial support from the Democratic National Committee, called for voters to help reset America’s political compass so that it can lessen partisanship and venomous discourse. He is concerned about the way U.S. Supreme Court nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson is being treated during her ongoing confirmation hearings and agreed that Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were occasionally mistreated during theirs.

“I think we all feel that where the country is right now is not where we need to be,” Herring said. “Again, that’s not about politics. It’s right, left and in between. We are not in a good place right now.”

Herring believes the nation can return to a more cohesive track, however.

“I’m by nature an optimistic person, though, and I still have faith in this country and I have faith in the people of this country,” he said. “I think part (of the answer) is leaders acting like leaders — talking about issues that our important and talking about them in a way that is respectful of other people.”