Martha Zoller’s announcement* she signed a pledge to vote against the state’s looming transportation tax referendum should come as no surprise: a conservative radio talker comfortably removed from Atlanta congestion, the firebrand Congressional hopeful is not the prototypical soccer mom most amenable to the measure.

She has said as much previously. Rather the gesture was a savvy, if transparent, maneuver to transpose on her own race the conservative activist-Republican establishment fault lines developing over the proposed hike.

The fate of both will be determined on July 31.

“State legislators like Doug Collins were hired by voters to address these important transportation issues,” Zoller said in a Wednesday release. “Instead, he voted for HB277 and kicked the can further down the road for someone else to fix it.”

Collins has said he too would vote against the one percent tax scheme, but his green lighting of the legislation that cleared the way for it might complicate his standing in conservative quarters of his party.

Some opposing in principle, others in practice for its appropriation of funds to Atlanta rail transit, Peach State tea party groups, like the one whose pledge Zoller signed this week, have begun upping their protests against the referendum.

Even if largely in agreement, the two GOP’ers could not be more differently styled candidates. The former serves the governor as the top legislative powerbroker in the lower chamber while the latter hosts a regional conservative radio call-in show.

Collins has exploited the dynamic to his advantage, wildly outstripping the field in fundraising receipts, but the Gainesville lawmaker’s cash advantage might prove moot if Zoller can foment conservative exurban tax opposition into a proxy battle.

*Zoller’s announcement email by way of the fine Georgia news aggregator That’s Just Peachy.

– James Richardson