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Renee Unterman expected to announce candidacy for District 7 on Thursday
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State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) is expected to announce her campaign for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District on Thursday, according to multiple media reports.

Unterman’s camp sent out a press release Wednesday announcing the longtime state lawmaker will hold a public event Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m., in Buford Town Square “to announce her plans for the 2020 election cycle.”

Unterman has been a powerful Republican lawmaker since she joined the state Senate in 2003, but she gained a new level of notoriety last month as one of the main sponsors of HB 481. Also known as the heartbeat bill, it prohibits abortion once a heartbeat can be detected by a doctor, which typically happens around six weeks into a pregnancy.

Unterman’s intention to run for the seat that includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties “has been an open secret for months,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She would instantly become the most prominent Republican in an increasingly crowded field that is aiming to replace Rep. Rob Woodall, who announced he won’t seek re-election in 2020.

Other Republicans include former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, ex-Atlanta Falcons player Joe Profit, physician Rich McCormick, Air Force veteran Ben Bullock and former education executive Lerah Lee.

Military veteran Harrison Floyd recently dropped out and publicly endorsed Forsyth County state Rep. Todd Jones (R-25), but Jones told the Forsyth County News on Tuesday he’s still weighing his options.

The Democratic field is just as crowded, with state lawmaker Brenda Lopez Romero, activist Nabilah Islam, attorney Marqus Cole, former Fulton Commission chairman John Eaves and Carolyn Bourdeaux, who fell just 419 votes shy of defeating Woodall in the closest U.S. House race in the country during the 2018 cycle.