US Senate Contest Heats up in Mid Georgia

On a chilly, first Friday in May 2013, Congressman Jack Kingston (R, GA-1) kicked up his 2014 run for the seat of retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss(R-GA). Kingston’s backdrop was the Macon Big House. This English Tudor house is now a museum, but in the early seventies the Allman Brothers Band settled there to refine a riffed-licked mix of southern bluesy rock.

The day before Rep. Kingston announced his candidacy in Savannah, with this vow to WTO channel 11 reporters:

“… [W]e want to win the majority in the Senate so we can start having reforms for entitlement, reforms on spending, reforms on job creation. So that America can get moving again. I would be in the top 10 percent of the conservative members of the Senate.”

Already in the Senate Republican primary contest are Congressmen Phil Gingrey (R, GA 11) and Paul Broun (R, GA 10). Both are conservative physicians. Broun is said to be the Tea Party favorite for his daring statements concerning the evolution theorem and “Marxist-Leninist policies.” Gingery states traditional positions: trim the federal debt, overturn the President’s health care overhaul, oppose abortion rights, and fight a citizenship path for illegals.

In the wings another Congressman/M.D., Tom Price (R, GA 6) dallies on a Senate announcement. Prodding him to decide is friend, Karen Handel, of the Komen/Planned Parenthood Funding controversy. May Day 2013 Handel sent an e-mail to supporters of her former governor’s run, asking for input/prayers as she ponders the U.S. Senate seat.

As of this date there are no announcements for the Democratic spot. Possible candidates include moderate U.S. Representative John Barrow (D, GA 12), Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed , and executive Michelle Nunn, the daughter of the former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA).

This Georgia race is one of eight Senatorial contests that incumbents on both sides of the aisle will not enter in the 2014 election cycle. Sen. Chambliss is a twenty-year D.C. veteran in both houses. In a surprise move, freshman Senator Mike Johanns (R) of Nebraska will retire–after a single six-year term. Senators Harkin (IA), Rockefeller (WV), Lautenberg (NJ), Levin (MI), Johnson (SD), and Baucus (MT) are the veteran Democrats that will retire from the Senate.

Incumbents, with bulging campaign chests and name recognition, are often difficult to unseat. With these retirements and other Senate contests come an opportunity for Republicans to upend the Democrat majority. But will their GOP platforms and hip music be enough to dance voters into booths that they were loathe to enter in 2008? The next year and a half will have pundits savoring noisy elections across the United States. And in one very, Red State as conservative Rep. Jack Kingston will be, as the Allman Brothers Band croon, “a ramblin’ man” to become a U.S. Senator.

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