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Tamar Hallerman

Anti-establishment anger puts Georgia’s GOP congressmen in cross hairs

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, right, administers the House oath to Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., during a ceremonial re-enactment swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday in the Rayburn Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Then-House Speaker John Boehner, right, administers the chamber’s oath to Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., during a ceremonial re-enactment swearing-in ceremony. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

WASHINGTON — Even with top ratings from right-wing blue-chip groups such as the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life and FreedomWorks, some of Georgia’s Republican congressmen are finding they’re not immune from the anti-establishment groundswell that’s defined this election cycle. 

U.S. House incumbents such as Doug Collins of Gainesville and Barry Loudermilk of Cassville attracted four GOP challengers apiece, and Ranger’s Tom Graves and Tifton’s Austin Scott also face primary races next month. Their blunders? Voting for John Boehner for speaker on the House floor in January 2015 and supporting a government spending bill later in the year.

Fueled by the runaway presidential candidacies of outsiders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, challengers are looking to capitalize off the voter frustration against any action deemed to be supportive of the status quo.

“Overwhelmingly, the message that I hear in the 11th District is that we’re tired of people who promise us one thing here and then go up to Washington and vote in a completely different way really to help their own political careers and to support the establishment and the Washington, D.C., economy,” said Daniel Cowan of Kennesaw, a business executive and first-time candidate running against Loudermilk.

Read more about the challenges facing many of Georgia’s congressmen here.