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It's no secret that U.S. Senator Saxby "Chicken Hawk" Chambliss (R. GA) was going to face a primary challenge from a more conservative/Tea Party Republican, it was just a matter of who that challenger was going to be.  Well, it looks like Rep. Paul Broun (R. GA-10) just threw the first punch:


In an interview in his fourth floor Rayburn Building office on Tuesday, Broun spoke passionately about fixing America’s fiscal future. Under the glowering eyes of a handful of taxidermied animals, Broun said he was upset about Democrats wanting “to empower government to control more of our lives.” The Congressman, in his third full term, said, “It’s irresponsible, it’s unteneable, it’s unsustainable and it has to stop.”

Asked whether Chambliss understands the big issues of debt and deficit the country is facing as he does, Broun paused for a moment.

“Doesn’t seem so,” Broun said. “He seems to want to raise taxes on people, and he also wants to continue spending. So I don’t know if he does or not, you’ll have to ask him.”

But pressed whether he was interested in challenging Chambliss in next year’s primary, Broun took a pass on answering. “Right now I’m focusing on trying to get our country to be responsible financially as a nation,” he said. “It’s not time to even think about that.” - 1/16/13

Broun, as you may remember, is a member of the House Science Committee who made this infamous statement about evolution:

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” - U.S. Rep Paul Broun (R. GA-10)

Sounds like the Tea Party's dream candidate.  Broun's statements caused activists to start a snarky campaign by writing in Charles Darwin on the ballot.  Chambliss of course did not react kindly to Broun's accusations regarding taxes and the deficit:
“I have never voted for a tax increase, and have spent years working to fix Washington’s spending problem that led to the fiscal mess we’re in,” he said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “Voting against permanent tax breaks for virtually everyone hurts working Americans and our economy.”

“Not only do I understand our debt and deficit problem, I have gotten off the sidelines to try and find a solution,” Chambliss added. “Those who vote ‘no’ on everything obviously don’t care about solving the country’s problems.” - Roll Call, 1/16/13

Again, I can't think of another asshole republican who deserves the boot more than Chambliss.  If you really need to know why, please read my diary about what he did to Senator Max Cleland (D. GA) in 2002:

Plus Broun might be the kind of guy the Tea Party Express is looking for in a candidate, especially after voting for the fiscal cliff deal:

“The Tea Party Express, we haven’t decided anything at this point, but I can tell you I live in the state of Georgia and Saxby Chambliss is going to be primaried. Our own senator. It’s unacceptable to have somebody who votes with the Democrats more than they do with the conservatives, and he has proven time and time again he’s all about the spending.

“And we’re a red state, we deserve a conservative senator, a conservative senator that would stand with [Sens.] Marco Rubio [R-Fla.] and Rand Paul [R-Ky.] and Mike Lee [R-Utah] who all voted ‘no’ for this bill.” - Ann Kremer, chairman of the national Tea Party Express, 1/3/13

Now Georgia isn't like Utah where it won't matter if the incumbent wins or loses, it's a solid Republican hold.  Georgia is more like Indiana in 2012 where the it will matter if the incumbent wins or loses that will determine if the GOP will hold onto this seat.  Georgia Democrats have a real opportunity here in the works but so far a big name candidate has yet to step up to the plate.  But the ideal Democrat who does decide to run has to be someone with nothing to lose:
-Chambliss' cross over appeal to Democrats would make him hard to defeat in a general election. But given the very real possibility of him losing to an extreme conservative candidate in the primary it might benefit Democrats to get a Joe Donnelly caliber candidate who doesn't have a lot to lose into the race, just in case... - PPP, 12/4/12
Another winning requirement for the ideal Democrat should be someone who can connect with the growing Latino population in Georgia so it doesn't hurt Georgia Democrats to recruit someone who is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform like the DREAM Act:
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) (Right)

Whoever the Democratic standard-bearer is, and whether 2014 is a year in which a Democrat has a chance, the demographics continue to move in the party’s direction and push Georgia toward tossup territory.

In 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up 62.6 percent of the population. In 2011, non-Hispanic whites made up only 55.5 percent of the Peach State’s population.

In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., got 41 percent of the vote. In 2012, Barack Obama pulled 45.4 percent.

“The trend is an undeniable trend,” Reed said in an interview with Roll Call over the summer. “It just depends on what year and what cycle.” - Roll Call, 11/19/12

Cleland was pro-immigration reform too.  So was his predecessor, Sam Nunn (D. GA).  Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed (D) would be my ideal candidate but he's already set on running for mayor again.  But Reed can feel Georgia moving into blue state territory:


“Where I think we’re going? I think Georgia is on an irreversible path to a Democratic majority,” Reed said. “But its going to be bipartisan because of the legislative districts.” - Saporta Report, 1/10/13
Reed tried to talk President Obama to put Georgia in play but the Obama campaign instead shifted their focus on North Carolina in 2012.  But even without investing in georgia, Obama received 45% of the vote, which isn't bad at all.  Reed believes that if Democrats want to win Georgia they are going to need to invest at least $10 million in campaign funds.  Reed may not be gearing up for a statewide run next year but he can certainly be instrumental in helping us win this year and he has a bright political future ahead of him:
Asked directly whether he would consider running for statewide office (after serving as mayor), Reed stumbled around saying his dream job has always been to be mayor of Atlanta. During the talk, his re-election was referred to as almost a foregone conclusion.

Then he admitted that he was blushing. “It’s a good thing that when I blush, y’all can’t tell.”

Finally, the mayor gave an answer to what he would like to do after finishing his second term as mayor.

“I want to help build a (Democratic) party,” Reed said. - Saporta Report, 1/10/13

Mayor Reed and Georgia Democrats are just sitting back and waiting to see how things play out for now.  But it's not a bad idea to start looking for a great candidate that doesn't fall in the John Barrow (D) Blue Dog column.  Hopefully Reed will be the one to help us find our dream candidate.

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Originally posted to pdc on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:28 PM PST.

Also republished by Kos Georgia.

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