Nathan C. Russo
Residence: St. Simons Island
In Glynn County: 23 years
Nathan Russo has campaigned in all 17 counties that are part of the 1st U.S. Congressional District in Georgia.
But he says he has had few opportunities to meet face-to-face with Lesli Messinger, his opponent for the Democratic Party's nomination to face incumbent Savannah Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston in the November general election.
And the primary is just weeks away - July 31.
"I'm surprised," he said. "I don't know if she goes anywhere. We don't see any Lesli (campaign) signs here."
With more than 42,000 registered voters in Glynn County, Russo of St. Simons Island says he believes it's an important area in which to campaign. But he isn't sure why he and Messinger haven't campaigned more often in the same location at the same time.
The last time U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston filed a campaign finance report, his political war chest contained $1.2 million. That number will likely be considerably higher when the Savannah Republican releases his new campaign finance report on July 16.
That's not the case with the two Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge Kingston for the 1st Congressional District seat.
Both Nathan Russo, of St. Simons Island, and Lesli Messinger, of Savannah, have limited financial resources and the money they have raised is being spent to earn their party's nomination. Neither candidate revealed how much they have raised so far.
Russo would only say that he hasn't raised "nowhere near" $50,000.
"I'm not saying," he said. "It's like showing your poker hand."
A political watchdog group says more than half of the nation's congressmen, including U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, have spent some of their campaign funds in questionable ways.
The report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Kingston reimbursed himself $122,473 from his campaign fund for food, lodging and other expenses he paid from personal accounts or credit cards in 2008 and 2010.
The report, which named 248 House members, questioned why Kingston reimbursed himself instead of paying for expenditures directly from his campaign fund, which reportedly has $1.2 million.
Kingston's spokesman Chris Crawford didn't dispute the accuracy of the study, saying information used in the report was provided by the congressman's reelection campaign staff.
"Jack's biggest concern is to make sure he's accountable," Crawford said. "We are completely and totally transparent with our campaign fund."
A St. Simons Island man seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for the 1st District Congressional seat believes he knows how to defeat the incumbent Republican - Rep. Jack Kingston, who has held the office since 1992.
Russo, 68, a lifelong bachelor and former owner of a public records abstract and appraisal business in New York City, said approval ratings for Congress are at an all-time low, making Kingston, the popular Republican from Savannah, vulnerable.
Russo said job creation is his No. 1 priority, with health care reform a close second.
"I have no objections to Obama care," he said.
He wants to reintroduce the draft for people ages 18 to 20 for two years of service as a way to reduce pressure on the National Guard and increase patriotism and responsibility in America's youth.
Nathan Russo knows it will be difficult to unseat U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston from the District 1 Congressional seat he has held the past 20 years.
"I'm 68 years old and have never held public office before," he said. "Some people have asked why I don't do something like run for county commissioner, but I'm too old to start at the bottom."
Russo also faces another potential obstacle in his bid for office -- a misdemeanor arrest during a prostitution sting on Nov. 16, 2006 at a Springdale, S.C. motel. Russo said he decided to reveal details of the arrest now, rather than risk having the information come out a few days before the November elections.
According to an incident report obtained by the Springdale, S.C. Police Department, Russo was arrested after he objected to tactics used by officers during the sting at a Travelers Inn in town.
After Russo witnessed the arrest of a man for soliciting a prostitute, police said he expressed his objection to the tactics used by investigators and uttered a profanity in protest. After he checked in, police said Russo began going from room to room warning occupants the police were at the motel and to "be careful."