Posted: 9:00 am Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Why a reinvigorated Phil Gingrey is good news for Mitch McConnell 

By Jim Galloway

healthgingery.0901_3

U.S. Senate candidate Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman from Marietta. Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

Word came late in the week that Phil Gingrey had reconsidered.

The Marietta congressman, whose hard-right Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate has been rocked by gaffes and staff departures, changed his mind and will participate in a Monday morning debate in downtown Atlanta with five primary rivals.

If you’re Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose hope of seizing control of the chamber in 2015 rides on the backs of electable GOP candidates, this is a good thing.

Really.

Gingrey may be the only Republican in the field who can eat into the strength of the man who drains the optimism from a Republican Washington looking at the mid-term elections: U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Athens. Whose nomination, Karl Rove and other GOP strategists believe, could give November wings to a well-financed bid by Democrat Michelle Nunn.

They look at checks written to Nunn by former GOP senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and John Warner of Virginia, only part of the $3.3 million she has already raised, and shudder.

But wise GOP heads understand that a “stop Broun” movement in Georgia would only enhance his stature with the grassroots. The best they can hope for is a well-financed competitor who can challenge Broun’s appeal among tea party voters.

So far, that’s Gingrey.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, has more cash, but has earned tea party suspicion because of his membership on the House Appropriations Committee. Former secretary of state Karen Handel has struggled to compete in the fund-raising department. David Perdue, a businessman, is reaching out to independents. Like Perdue, Eugene Yu is a businessman who has never held public office.

But a Gingrey resurgence will require the jump-starting of a campaign that has been off-track for two months. One measure of inactivity: Before Friday, the last email sent out by his campaign to this reporter carried a date of Nov. 26.

Gingrey began his campaign for Senate with credentials nearly as well-polished as Broun’s. Last February, the Club for Growth gave Broun a score of 100 – he was one of only three members of the U.S. House to achieve conservative perfection. Gingrey scored a none-too-shabby 89. (The exiting Saxby Chambliss was awarded a 68.)

But weeks before the official launch of the Gingrey campaign, the man from Marietta made a double-barreled blunder – two gaffes in a single interview — that managed to offend both right and left.

On one hand, Gingrey said he might consider a ban on high-capacity magazines as a means of curbing gun violence, ticking off the National Rifle Association.

The congressman, an obstetrician by profession, also defended abortion-related remarks made by Republican Todd Akin – remarks that were credited with dooming Akin’s GOP run for the U.S. Senate in Missouri in 2012. Among other things, Akin said biological defenses generated by a woman under assault would prevent ovulation —- and thus pregnancy.

Gingrey retracted both statements.

His reputation for ill-judged remarks was revived last September, when Gingrey drew a line in the sand during a private Republican caucus discussion over whether to give congressional staffers access to health care through the Affordable Care Act.

Staffers should suck it up, he said. “In a few years they can just go to K Street and make $500,000 a year,” Gingrey said. “Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year.” His remarks were leaked, of course.

In mid-November, Gingrey gambled: He demanded a first round of TV ads promising to repeal Obamacare “or go home.” The risk was great. Gingrey, at 71, is the oldest of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. There was a danger that the ads could serve as an advertisement that Gingrey would be a one-term senator – a killer when it comes to fund-raising.

The ads ran. And the top members of Gingrey’s staff walked out on him.

Earlier this month, Gingrey skipped the first debate of the Senate contest, sponsored by the Georgia GOP. So eyebrows jumped when, initially, he also passed on Monday’s debate at the Atlanta Hilton, sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association.

But Patrick Sebastian, Gingrey’s new campaign manager, now says his candidate will be participating in “most” debates.

“The campaign is in high gear. Phil’s going around the state as the leader in repealing Obamacare,” Sebastian said. “We’ve received tremendous feedback on his repeal-or-go home pledge.”

Gingrey, of course, will insist that he is far more than a spoiler in the GOP race for Senate. His voter approval ratings have been high, and at one point last year, a survey showed him doing better than other GOP candidates in a hypothetical match-up against Nunn.

Moreover, Paul Broun isn’t invulnerable. One Republican strategist reminded me that Broun lost a 1996 Republican bid for U.S. Senate.

But Broun is a formidable campaigner. In Georgia, the Republican establishment has tried to oust Broun three times from his House seat – and failed. Broun’s Friday announcement that he would give a free AR-15 to a supporter was only the latest demonstration that the man knows his audience.

But here’s one last reason certain Republicans want Gingrey to stay in this race: They’re afraid that, in the next few weeks, Democratic money will quietly flow into the GOP side of the Georgia contest – to boost Broun. The tactic has been employed elsewhere.

But with Gingrey still in the race, Democrats might not be able to decide who they’d rather face.

48 comments
NWGAGirl
NWGAGirl

Jack Kingston is the best overall bet for Georgia's conservative base. Broun has great ideas but, again, divisiveness will destroy his efforts. Gingrey should just go home and take his leeches with him.

Looking forward for Georgia, Jack Kingston will be our best choice for representative.

btn
btn

The national GOP members that are counting on Phil Gingrey to bring sanity to the Georgia GOP Primary are only setting themselves up for disappointment.   



Jhank
Jhank

Mitch McConnell Is not in the safe category himself. He stands a good chance of being defeated in his election. He is not only being attacked by the political right and left, apparently the middle is not particularly fund of him either. He might very well go down in his primary election.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

What better support for Michelle Nunn that to nominate a crack-pot as her opposition.  The only risk is that everybody would assume nobody would elect a crack-pot and not bother to vote.  The concern is that crack-pots rapidly become easy to control through their corruption.  Broun - who is so opposed to all government that he attempted to practice medicine without a medical license and Gingrey - who was run out of medicine by repeated malpractice suits - have both failed at their profession.  Now, they feed at the taxpayer trough, their income supply of last resort.  Send these failures on to permanent retirement - never to be heard from again. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

No, amnesty. 


Ronaldo Reaganendez' 1986 amnesty says, "What?"


No, deficits. 


Deficits?


Did someone mention, "deficits"?


Which brings us to the economic level. The deficits that Bush ran up in the years in which the country was teetering on the verge of a serious recession had the beneficial effect of righting the economy. In that sense, deficits not only didn't matter, but were a force for economic good.


Translation: IOKIYAR


Oh and Dave, you brought a legal action to have Obama's name removed from the 2012 ballot.

How did that turn out for you?


Just askin'.

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

Paul Broun in the Senate would be Georgia's Ted Cruz. Go Paul.


Yes, Article V. 

Yes, net neutrality. 

No, amnesty. 

No, deficits. 

And, definitely, no frigging Obamacare, hoorah!



ex animo

davidfarrar

NWGAL
NWGAL

Choosing between Gingrey and Broun? That's enough to give a sane person indigestion.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Jack Kingston's REAL problem, in Republican eyes, is that the liberal Democrat Atlanta Journal-Constitution wastes all kinds of column space boosting his candidacy.

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

There is absolutely no reason for Democrats to "quietly flow" or openly  contribute any money to any of these GOP candidates.  This time, there are enough women, minorities, students, unemployed, underemployed, public employees, government contractor employees, Democrats, and Independents to not vote for any GOP senate candidate. 

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

I see no need for Democrats to interject themselves into the Republican Primary in any manner for, if there is any constant in this universe, it is that the next Republican will always be worse than the last. Leave them to their own devise, and they will not disappoint.

JonLester
JonLester

If you're worried about either of these doctors becoming our next senator, then why don't you consider voting for Dr. Rad?

Kamchak
Kamchak

This obvious left wing Democrat pretends to be a centrist.

(shrug)

You are very right wing claiming to be a centrist.

Glass house, meet stone.

Just sayin'.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Readers, if you value women's rights, public education, affordable medical care for all citizens, you will not vote for any Republican candidate.  Wise up as to how you have been manipulated for years by those of power and wealth in this nation to vote for corporate interests over the interests of the common man and woman in this state of Georgia.

PSWallace
PSWallace

I wish Ms. Nunn well in her quest. I do not think I will be liking or supporting her if elected. Her path has been too easy.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

The Sockpuppet hypocritical screen name stealing scum posted "do we vote for Broun, to make it easier for Nunn?"  This obvious left wing Democrat pretends to be a centrist.  How do you other liberals like such tactics that smear your standing?

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

So.... do we vote for Broun, to make it easier for Nunn?  Tempting, but scary too - given the propensity of GA voters to make fools of themselves, they might just actually vote Broun into office,,,,

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

I do not support Broun to become our next Senator because of his rejection of science in favor of his extreme religious beliefs.

But his credentials are impressive whether you like him or not:

Graduated from the University of Georgia in 1967 with a B.S. in Chemistry. In 1971, he received his Medical Doctor degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. An internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon and a residency at University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama followed. 

Dr. Broun served in the military as a jet engine mechanic in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves and later received a commission as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy.

He was a Georgia state Senator for 38 years and a U.S. Congressman since 2002.

Compare that to high school graduate Handel who was fired for cause from her last job and has been unemployed since.

honested
honested

The up-side of this is that in November, gingrey and broun will be going back to 'malpracticing', kingston will go back to selling insurance, handel will go back to grifting, and Georgia will finally have a qualified Senator.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

"...with credentials nearly as well-polished as Broun’s."

What? Both are idiots! Well polished? Gingrey makes stupid comments when running for office, and you expect him to be "stately" if he wins? Are you unrealistic or just stupid?

Why doesn't he just go home now?

Gmare
Gmare

Just checking in to say hi to all.

Gmare
Gmare

mhellet7@gmail.com

Bernie31
Bernie31

Congressman wannabe Senator Phil Gingrey is an EMPTY SUIT seeking a Golden Retirement Plan provided by The American People at Government expense. 

Yet this Same EMPTY SUIT rails to ALL of US on the wastefulness in Government spending. Time to tell Phil to go collect  Your retirement from your Waiting Medical Practice. The waiting retirement income from Dr. Gingrey's Medical Practice comes in (6) SIX FIGURES!

The American People should not be on the HOOK for an additional Golden retirement Package for a SNAKE OIL SALESMAN like Phil Gingrey. Phil Gingrey has NOT Done anything in CONGRESS of Value for the people of Cobb County, Georgia or for The American People to deserve such a Golden Parachute  Retirement Package from The U.S. Senate on behalf of the American People...and That is the TRUTH!

uh...huh

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Still say that a Blue-Dog, well-financed, female, candidate will be critical for any Democratic statewide victory...but to also be from, and in possession of, a well-respected, political family name and heritage, is more than a plus. Of course I've been shaking my head in disbelief at the stupidity of Georgia voters for years, so one never can know for sure. But Ms. Nunn has a shot...and Broun especially knows that that means she can 'take down' even the biggest, baddest, beast in the jungle. I mean how great would it be for her to have a stuffed Paul Broun standing in the corner of her Senate office? Gingrey? He never should have given up his medical practice....and you can bet he never had to 'settle for' a measly $174K a year in Washington. Frankly, he must not have been much of a Doctor, but he's been even less of a Congressman.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Then there is the even more extreme right winger (Handel) with the top issue of pro-life at her core that is also a high priority of Broun and Gingrey supporters.  Republicans are likely to settle on Kingston or Perdue, which are the biggest threats to Democrats.

DS
DS

@EdUktr Kingston is the top fundraiser in the Republican race through the 3rd quarter, while Broun is in 5th place. Yet the AJC seems to give Broun a lot more column space, I guess because his antics are more entertaining. Seems like Kingston deserves more coverage, if fundraising is any sign of support.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@BuckheadBoy


Dr. Barge is different.  He reacted not as a politician, but as a man of conscience, to protect the viability of public schools in the state of Georgia.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@JonLester Good point. It may take a trained psychiatrist to deal with the bat-sh!t crazy mad hatters that comprise the teatards' party.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I must qualify my remarks, above, to state that I do plan to cross over and vote for Republican candidate, Dr. John Barge, Georgia's Superintendent of Schools, for governor of Georgia in the Republican primary. I, however, may cross back and vote for Democrat Jason Carter for governor of Georgia in the general election.  If Dr. Barge were to win the Republican nomination for governor, I would listen to what he has to say (as well as listen to the thoughts of Jason Carter) on other issues than education to make sure that he will not be bound to the overall Republican agenda in this state to destroy the ACA, as one example.  In the meantime, I again want to state that Dr. Barge should be nominated as a candidate for a Kennedy Center honor as a Profile in Courage for his courageous stand against Gov. Deal, in fighting for public education in Georgia.

honested
honested

@MaryElizabethSingsHowever, a fat crossover turnout in the primary to put broun on the ballot might be sufficient to give us a todd aiken November!

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Silence from the liberals - which seems to be concurrence with such nefarious tactics.

One again for the left wingers that can't see the middle and claim everyone to their right is an extreme Republican:

I am secular, pro-choice, in favor of a Buffet rule tax bracket, vote for moderate Democrats like Ken Hodges against Attorney General Olens, and all who ran against Chambliss and Isakson, support Common Core standards, oppose Broun and Handel to replace Handel (considering all others including Nunn).  The imposter NEVER breaks with Democrats.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@The_Centrist Yeah, it's becoming difficult to distinguish the bombastic, bloviating, right wing cretin from the real centrist here.

honested
honested

@The_CentristSo you prefer electing one of the seven dwarfs to remain the laughingstock of the Nation?

JonLester
JonLester

@The-Centrist Broun can always remind people that Nunn has taken campaign contributions from Jane Fonda. He can also remind us that he was against intervening in Syria when she was for it.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@The_Centrist Except that the State Senator who served for 38 years was his father, who described the son as "crazy". The error of that should have been readily apparent to you from the other dates that you quote, as it would have Junior serving at 17. 


Ellis Arnall back then was touted as the youngest to ever serve in the General Assembly, at 25 (then to be tied by Julian Bond in '65  had the House not refused to seat him). The_Centrist, I knew Ellis Arnall; Ellis Arnall was a friend of mine; and crazy Junior is no Ellis Arnall. 



honested
honested

@The_Centrist When was the last time Dr. broun had privileges to practice at any of the hospitals in the town of his residence?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@honested-  Karen Handel is Jim Galloway's Fault...LOL!  Jim has been Filling Karen's Head with a Pipe Dream of Hope Here. Karen Handel has been running on "EMPTY" since Day One of her candidacy.

Nothing from Nothing leaves NOTHING!

honested
honested

@DirtyDawgOf course, if Georgia republicans nominate Broun, a generation will pass before the rest of the Nation stops making jokes about Georgia voter stupidity.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@MaryElizabethSings Then his fate should be the same as a Roemer or a Huntsman -- a footnote to a GOP primary in Banana Republican land. Let that be. Don't fall into Rove's / US Chamber's least-worse-Republican trap for staving-off GOP extinction.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

Okay, The_Centrist, I’ve made my point.I’ll drop the use of this name.

I just wanted to prove several things – and your hysteria at my existence indicates I’ve been successful.

First, I wonder why you can’t just cowboy up and admit who you are?You’re nowhere near being a centrist – you’re a rightie – why can’t you be honest about it?Why are you ashamed of your beliefs?

Secondly, you’re proud of the fact that you don’t read or engage with people who disagree with you?Odd that you would come to a blog meant to foster discussion, then refuse to ‘discuss’ with anyone who thinks differently than you.

Finally, you’re rude.I’m not sure where you grew up but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Georgia,My mama taught me that when you were a guest in someone’s home, you treated them with respect.Galloway puts up this blog and offers you a chance to make your comments every day – and you respond by treating him with contempt.

Time for you to grow up, my friend.

DannyX
DannyX

@The_Centrist  said, "I am secular, pro-choice, in favor of a Buffet rule tax bracket,"


I am too, that doesn't make me a centrist!  


A centrist wouldn't count posts then post the results crying about how many liberals responded.  A centrist doesn't take the side of far far right positions 99% of the time.  A centrist would never give "likes" to only far right wing posters. A centrist would never ignore left wing posters and fawn over the right wingers.  A centrist would never cry about the "liberal" media every single day x10 then post links to Breitbart.com


The_Centrist, you are a phony and a crybaby

Kamchak
Kamchak

@The_Centrist  

I am secular, pro-choice...

Yeah and I walk 20 miles to work 365 days a year barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@honested@The_Centrist- Now that is a VERY GOOD Question? Surely Dr. Broun did not attend Medical School to become a Professional Politician like he has been for DECADES.

There is a reason why Dr. Broun has Left the Medical Profession and Dr, Broun needs to explain it to the Citizens of Georgia prior to Voting.

uh...huh

DannyX
DannyX

@The-Centrist,


Watching you mock The_Centrist like you have has been a complete pleasure to watch, well done!  He had know idea what you were doing and to finally watch him explode and list all of the reasons HE is not a centrist was just perfect.


His "silence from the liberals" was the icing on the cake, seeing as he claims to not read or respond to posts from the people on the left.  When confronted he runs away and hides yet in this case had the audacity to demand a response.


Again, well played!  

DannyX
DannyX

@The_Centrist, I forgot one.


A centrist would keep an open mind about Michelle Nunn's candidacy, she has the support of 2 Republican ex-US Senators, and will run a centrist campaign.  You however cry every single time Jim or Daniel mentions her campaign as if it were some sort of evil liberal conspiracy.

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