Ben Bullock left the business world to join the Air Force partly because of the stories his grandfather told him about serving in World War II and partly because his sister lived in lower Manhattan during 9/11. It sparked a 10-year career in the Air Force Reserves in counterintelligence, some of which he spent working in the Joint Chiefs of Staff office at the Pentagon.
During his time around Capitol Hill, Bullock found himself disappointed by the amount of military knowledge among lawmakers.
“We need good military leaders in Congress,” Bullock told the Forsyth County News.
Bullock said national security will be one of the pillars of his campaign for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in 2020, which the Republican announced in a video on Wednesday, June 5.
Bullock has seen active duty at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, the Pentagon, an Afghanistan-Pakistan task force and most recently the U.S. Africa Command in Germany, he said. Bullock believes his military background will be valuable in Congress to helping find “a reasonable immigration solution, as well as fighting international conflicts,” he said.
Also a real estate investor, Bullock lives outside District 7, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He lists his home at an Atlanta address inside the perimeter, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission. But Bullock says he plans to move inside the district soon, and his company has been involved in $250 million worth of real estate development in the area.
“What’s most important is that my values align with the district,” Bullock said, “and I firmly believe that.”
Bullock said he has “a whole lot of friends in those communities” and a pulse on what matters to people in the district.
“I talk with people almost every day that want more jobs, better jobs and higher paying jobs,” Bullock said. “They want better infrastructure, better roads, and less commute times. My background in real estate dovetails real well with the desires of the people and what they’re telling me.”
He’s also aware of the microscope that’s already on the District 7 race since Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Georgia State University professor, came within 419 votes of defeating incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall in 2018. It was the closest U.S. House race in the country and seemed to indicate that the traditionally-conservative district is a part of a recent demographic shift observed in other metro Atlanta suburbs.
A crowded field of candidates has emerged on both sides since Woodall announced he won’t seek re-election. Bullock joins a list of Republicans including former Atlanta Falcons player Joe Profit, former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, physician Rich McCormick and former education executive Lerah Lee.
The Democratic field is just as crowded, led by Bourdeaux again, along with state lawmaker Brenda Lopez Romero, activist Nabilah Islam, attorney Marqus Cole and former Fulton Commission chairman John Eaves.
Bullock doesn’t believe the district is as vulnerable for Republicans as Democrats do, but its fate is tied to President Donald Trump’s re-election hopes in 2020, he said.
Indeed, in Bullock’s announcement video, he expressed support for Trump “and his pledge that American will never be a socialist country” after flashing images of liberal lawmakers such as U.S. senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I feel it’s my responsibility to keep our country going in the right direction,” Bullock said. “This district in terms of the national sphere is very important.”