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This Day in Georgia History

August 28, 1976

Newt Gingrich Started First Campaign

To view an image of Newt Gingrich, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

At age 61, 6th District Congressman John “Jack” Flynt had represented Georgia in Congress for 22 years, ascending to chair the House Ethics Committee. But on this day the Democrat learned he would again have Republican opposition in the general election for the second time. In 1974. Flynt was opposed by an upstart with no previous political experience - Dr. Newt Gingrich, a 31-year-old history professor from West Georgia College. In the 1974 election, Flynt narrowly beat the first serious opposition of his congressional career. Now on Aug. 28, 1976, Gingrich kicked off his campaign for the House of Representatives. Once again, Flynt would prevail - but he saw the handwriting on the wall. This would be Flynt’s last term, as he decided not to run for reelection. In 1978, Gingrich easily won the 6th Congressional District seat against Democratic challenger Virginia Shepard.