For two decades Dale Cardwell has been checking under the hood of government, reporting his findings as an television investigative reporter.
Now, he wants to drive the car.
Cardwell, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss, a one-term Republican who announced his intentions to run for re-election earlier this week.
Cardwell is one of six announced candidates for the Democratic nomination in the July 15 primary. Atlanta attorney Jim Martin announced Wednesday he would seek the Democratic nomination. DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones; ecologist Rand Knight; Statesboro businessman Josh Lanier; and Rockdale County teacher Maggie Martinez have previously announced they would seek the office.
Cardwell, who was in Columbus this week trying to round up support, was the first to go after Chambliss. Cardwell quit after 11 years as an investigative journalist for WSB-TV in Atlanta to run for the U.S. Senate. In his job, Cardwell said he found a gulf between "what people wanted and what politicians do."
"This election is all about getting rid of the insiders and replacing them with outsiders," he said. "I am the ultimate outsider."
He's also at a huge disadvantage. Chambliss has more than $4 million amassed for his re-election bid and will likely not face opposition for the Republican nomination. Cardwell has raised about $150,000 and is looking at a six-way fight just to land on the November ballot and have the opportunity to tackle Chambliss.
Cardwell said he will not take any political action committee money.
Cardwell built a reputation as a tough reporter for WSB, working on stories about government corruption. He believes his past and the name recognition that comes with it, will help him in the July primary.
"I don't know how well it translates as a politician, but it does translate as an agent for change," Cardwell said.