PPP's poll also shows that there is no real clear favorite it what could be a crowded GOP primary. Former Georgia Secretary of State and Komen Foundation V.P., Karen Handel ties with Congressman Jack Kingston (R. GA-1) at 15%. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle gets 13%, Congressman Phil Gingrey (R. GA-11) gets 12%, Congressman Paul Broun (R. GA-10) gets 11%, Congressman Tom Price (R. GA-6) gets 10% and Congressman Tom Graves (R. GA-14) gets 3%. 20% remains undecided. PPP notes that many of these GOP candidates lack name recognition right now. Broun is the only announced candidate in the race but once the other candidates decide to jump in the primary, there might be more of a clear choice. Either way, this is great news and I hope a big name Georgia Democrat comes forward soon.PPP looked at match ups involving 5 Republicans (Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Karen Handel, Jack Kingston and Tom Price) and 3 Democrats (John Barrow, Jason Carter, and Max Cleland). Cleland is the only person in the whole bunch who has more than 50% statewide name recognition, with 48% of voters rating him favorably to 29% with an unfavorable view.
If Cleland could be coaxed into the race he would start out with a lead over every Republican we tested him against. He's up 1 against Price, 3 against Kingston, 5 against Gingrey, and 7 against Broun and Handel.Democratic prospects for winning the seat might not hinge on what could be an unlikely Cleland candidacy though. John Barrow trails by an average of only 4/10ths of a point against the Republicans we tested- leading Gingrey and Handel by 1, tying Broun, trailing Price by 1, and trailing Kingston by 3. Carter trails the quintet of Republicans we tested by an average of 3.8 points- he's down 2 to Broun and Gingrey, 4 to Handel, 5 to Price, and 6 to Kingston.
Obviously it's been 13 years since Democrats won a major election in Georgia, but the closeness of these early numbers suggest that if they nominate a strong candidate and Republicans end up going with someone too far to the right there's at least some chance that they could pull off an upset. In an election cycle with few opportunities for offense it's one of the better ones the Democrats have. - PPP, 2/19/13
I would love to see Cleland return to the Senate but I'm happy to see Carter polled in this race and showing some good numbers. Blue Dog Congressman John Barrow (D. GA-12) has said he's not interested in this race right now but with the GOP making him a top target again for 2014, he might change his mind. Barrow is certainly not my top choice but I am impressed that he was able to both large African American voters and conservative white gun owners to come out for him. Name another Democrat this past cycle that could do that? Grant it, ads like this certainly helped him seal his re-election victory:
But again this is good news and with Karl Rove threatening to intervene in the primary and stop someone like Broun from securing the nominee. But Broun isn't scared of Rove:
Stay tuned.With three fist pumps and a shout, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun on Wednesday leaped into the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate — and thumbed his nose at Karl Rove and other establishment Republicans who see the Georgia congressman as a threat to the national GOP's effort to revive itself.
“I’m not intimidated,” Broun said in the crush of reporters that followed his announcement. And then he was quickly back on message. No mention of President Barack Obama’s allegiance to the Soviet Constitution, no description of evolution or the big bang or embryology as “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
“The only thing that intimidates me is this looming financial meltdown,” Broun said, returning to the only topic that he laid out before a small group of enthusiastic supporters at a Buckhead hotel. - Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2/6/13