A tech executive and former Navy SEAL formally entered the race for governor, joining an already-crowded GOP contest with a pledge to make Georgia the "first 21st Century state."
Clay Tippins, 44, formally entered the race Wednesday to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. He enters the race as a virtual blank slate, with no public profile or voting record, little name recognition and without the huge trove of cash needed to finance his campaign on his own.
He faces four Republican current or former office-holders, each with a voting record and policy initiatives to tout on the campaign trail. But Tippins' supporters hope his outsider status appeals to conservatives who turned to newcomers Donald Trump and David Perdue in past Georgia votes.
A graduate of Shiloh High School, Tippins was captain of Stanford University’s swim team and joined the elite Navy SEALs shortly after graduating. In the mid-2000s, he re-enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was recently dispatched to Iraq for a counter-terrorism tour of duty.
He’s now an executive vice president of Capgemini, the global consulting firm, and lives with his wife and two kids in Buckhead.
Tippins kicked off his campaign at his Buckhead headquarters and dozens of supporters, including his uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins. He compared the campaign to a "mission" that he's determined to successfully carry out.