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February 12--  Even after State Representative Delvis Dutton of Glennville entered the 12th Congressional District primary race, former congressional aide John Stone of Augusta is optimistic about his chances in the primary.

One reason is that his fundraising went up the end of last year while that of his opponent Rick Allen, an Augusta businessman, went down.  Allen still has more cash on hand but Stone is encouraged by the trend.

"Regular people across South Georgia are responding very favorably to our campaign.  We have over 2,500 individual donors to our campaign and a lot of those folks are writing $5, $10 and $15 checks as opposed to the $2,000 checks that the large donors put in.  I'd rather have a whole bunch of people giving me small amounts than the other way around and we wound up being basically tied in cash on hand. We've got a great race going on here for the 12th District," Stone said during a visit to Vidalia.

Stone thinks another advantage he has is his declaration to vote for a new Speaker of the House if elected.

"In all 19 counties, people are saying you guys, the Republicans, have got to stand up to the Obama agenda, stand up for the Constitution and start offering something positive.  To do that we've got to have new leadership to pull the party together," Stone said.

Whomever wins the Republican primary will need to raise a lot more money to compete with incumbent Democrat John Barrow who has more than $1.2 million on hand to fight his Republican opponent in November.