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Aaron Gould Sheinin

Pro-immigration reform PAC backs Barry Loudermilk — sorta

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Freshman U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, shown during his campaign last year. AJC file

Freshman U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, shown during his campaign last year. AJC file

The name of the political action committee simply begged attention

While perusing the recently filed campaign finance reports of a dozen or more Georgia congressional candidates, the $1,000 that U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Bartow County Republican, received from the What A Country! PAC on March 25 stood out.

The fact that Loudermilk, locked in a competitive re-election campaign in the 11th District, took a PAC contribution wasn’t unusual — more than half the $124,000 he raised in the first quarter of this year came from special interest groups.

But the What A Country! PAC begged examination. Turns out, it’s a leadership PAC for U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. What’s interesting in the context of the 11th District race, however, is that the PAC was designed to help support candidates that, like Curbelo, back comprehensive immigration reform.

The Miami Herald reported in 2015 when the PAC was formed that it was designed “to raise money for those Republicans who might need some financial support for taking a moderate immigration tack.”

Yikes. “Moderate” is not a word that will win many Republican votes in the 11th District, which is centered in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

Loudermilk’s voting record does nothing to suggest he’s a moderate on immigration, so what gives?

The congressman’s spokesman, Dan McLagan, said the contribution was a “thank you” from Curbelo.

“Barry helped Curbelo beat a liberal Democrat (now Obama appointee at the Department of Energy) in 2014,” McLagan said. “He’s a nice guy.”

Loudermilk and Curbelo disagree on much, McLagan said.

“They disagree on baseball teams (Curbelo married the sister of former Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell) and immigration, but agree on the perils of a Clinton presidency and the sheer deliciousness of Cuban sandwiches.”