Broun becomes 1st in Senate raceBy WALTER C. JONES
Morris News Service
Congressman Paul Broun chose the posh, Grand Hyatt Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta to formally announce that he is spending the next 17 months running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss’ retirement.
He told the journalists and two-dozen supporters at the Wednesday press conference that he would take his fight to cut federal spending from the House to the Senate.
Broun, an Athens Republican, is the first to enter the race that’s expected to draw several to the GOP primary. Among those who’ve said they are considering it are Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price whose political base is in the area around the hotel Broun spoke from. Both are physicians like Broun.
Also pondering it is Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, the longest-serving member of the state’s GOP delegation.
Broun says he also is well known in metro Atlanta and has a grassroots network across the state.
Cyndy Hartman and Jean Short are part of that network. The two are among the 35 or so members of the Oconee Regional Republican Women along with Broun’s wife Niki.
“They live in our community. They work in our community. He’s a great Christian conservative,” said Short, who co-chairs the group’s Committee on Americanism.
Hartman, its president, said that although the group can’t formally support a candidate in the primary, she is willing to travel the state to knock on doors and raise money for him.
“He’s an honest man,” she said. “He believes in the Constitution.”
Broun is hoping his mix of fiscal and Christian conservatism sells statewide.
But he discounts any suggestion that his controversial comments opposing the theory of evolution will harm him among suburban voters who may not share his religious fervor because federal spending will be the main issue in the campaign.
“It’s well known that I’m a Bible-believing Christian, and we can debate those religious issues, but that’s not why people are going to vote,” he said. “They’re going to vote for somebody they can see is going to be leading the charge to get this country back on the right course.”
He won his seat in Congress with just a 394 margin in a special election caused by the death of Charlie Norwood in 2007 and has held off challengers in the two regular elections since.
This would not be his first attempt at the Senate. He finished fourth in a six-way primary in 1996 when Democrat Sam Nunn retired.