Tea Party-backed minister wins GOP nod

Minister Jody Hice has defeated businessman Mike Collins in the Republican runoff to replace Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a win that will likely cause headaches for House Republican leadership.  

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The Associated Press has called the race for Hice, who was ahead of Collins 54 percent to 46 percent with 93 percent of precincts reporting. 

Hice had edged Collins in the seven-way primary by 270 votes, and in the runoff won an endorsement from Broun.

The Tea Party candidate's win worries some establishment Republicans, who see him as another version of controversial Broun. The Baptist pastor and former conservative radio host has already attracted national attention for incendiary comments that Islam should not be covered by the First Amendment and decade-old remarks that women should seek their husband's approval before running for office. 

Those comments became campaign fodder for Collins. Hice, though, argued they were taken out of context, hitting back at Collins with accusations that the businessman favors raising the debt ceiling. 

Collins, a trucking company executive and the son of former Rep. Mac Collins (R-Ga.), had hoped to appeal to establishment conservative voters. He drew the support of several big-name Republicans, including  former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Collins sought throughout the race to paint Hice as too radical for the rural, conservative district, but his efforts fell short in the low-turnout runoff. Hice is the strong favorite to replace Broun in Congress in the heavily Republican district.