Cecil Staton, founder and owner of Smyth & Helwys Publishing, a publishing house for moderate Baptist Sunday School materials and books, is running for the Republican nomination in the 11th congressional district in Georgia.

“I will be a voice for the common-sense conservative values and principles Georgians hold dear,” Staton said, when he announced his campaign last November.

Staton said that while he had considered public service for a number of years, the events of Sept. 11 had played an important role in his decision to run in the newly drawn district that stretches across Georgia.

Identified as “the most conservative” of the three Republican candidates by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Staton received a recent boost with an endorsement from Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum Political Action Committee.

“I am delighted Eagle Forum has come on board with my campaign. Phyllis Schlafly is a champion of the American family and I look forward to joining her in fighting for our families and freedoms in Washington,” Staton said in a press release on his Web site, www.statonforcongress.org.

Other endorsements include Gary Bauer and the Campaign for Working Families, Congressman Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., and Clark Hutchinson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Cartersville, Ga.,

Following a federal court ruling that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was impermissible, Staton said, “The faith of our forefathers has been under assault for too long. We must take back our country from a runaway liberal judiciary!”

He said, “The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in our Constitution. Only Republicans are willing to appoint judges to the bench who say what the Constitution says—not what liberals want it to say,” according to a press release on his Web site.

The Republican National Coalition for Life PAC, which does not support candidates who make exceptions for abortion, gave Staton a “pro-life without discrimination” ranking. His Republican opponents were both listed as making exceptions. One said abortion should be legal in the cases of handicap and genetic defect. The other made exceptions for rape or incest.

As of July 23, Staton led his two Republican rivals in fund raising, according to public information from the Federal Elections Commission available on the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site, www.opensecrets.org.

Staton had personally contributed $517,381 of the $651,411 that his campaign raised. Less than $3,000 came from political action committees.

Campaign expenditures included a $1,000 sponsorship of a “Family Freedom Event” at a meeting of the Christian Coalition of Georgia.

The Georgia primary is Aug. 20.

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