Will national Republicans try to shape Georgia’s Senate race?

As possible candidates to replace Saxby Chambliss in the U.S. Senate continue to sidle up to the proverbial ring with their proverbial hats aimed at it, take a few minutes to read this story from the New York Times about how national GOP figures are trying to get more involved in recruiting and promoting candidates in Senate races across the country. Here’s the gist of it:

The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate. …

The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.

The project is being waged with last year’s Senate contests in mind, particularly the one in Missouri, where Representative Todd Akin’s comment that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy rippled through races across the country. In Indiana, the Republican candidate, Richard E. Mourdock, lost a race after he said that when a woman became pregnant during a rape it was “something God intended.”

The story has sparked reactions on the right ranging from sharp criticism to unimpressed indifference. Some have pointed out that more establishment-type candidates didn’t win winnable Senate races last year in states such as Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin. And of course, Rove’s role in George W. Bush’s presidency comes with unfavorable associations of its own: e.g., the creation of Medicare Part D and higher spending more generally.

The piece mentions no possible candidates in Georgia by name, but it does quote Georgia GOP chair Sue Everhart at the end:

Sue Everhart, the head of the Georgia Republican Party, said she did not object to outside intervention. But because open Senate seats do not come along very often, she said,”we have six congressmen who want the job,” which could create a messy and divisive primary regardless of the efforts to control the race.

“The primary has to sort itself out in Georgia,” Ms. Everhart said. “That’s what primaries are for. But we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball. This is going to be a very important election, and it’s paramount that Georgia keeps its Senate seat in Republican hands.”

You can bet the Georgia name on the tip of every tongue at American Crossroads is that of the only semi-official candidate in the race, Congressman Paul Broun of Athens. Broun famously called evolution and the Big Bang theory “lies straight from the pit of hell” and suggested Barack Obama has more allegiance to the Soviet constitution than the American one. These are exactly the kinds of statements the folks at American Crossroads — and, as far as I can tell, nearly everyone in the state GOP hierarchy — would not like to have attached to the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate next year.

The question in my mind is how much of a backlash outside intervention — directed at Broun or anyone else — would spark among Georgia’s grass-roots GOP activists. I’d say that’s also probably the question on the minds of Georgia Democrats, who probably need a nasty, divisive Republican primary starting this year and lasting next July, and even to an August runoff, to have a strong chance at winning statewide in 2014. (It will get easier for them in 2016, 2018 and certainly by 2020.)

Rather than helping avoid such a fight, outside intervention could virtually guarantee one. My take today is that Georgia’s Republican hierarchy is sufficiently committed to fielding a nominee who’s not dangerously inflammatory that Rove’s group would be wise to take a pass. If it decides otherwise, the next 18 months in Georgia politics could be even more interesting than we thought.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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222 comments Add your comment

first

February 4th, 2013
1:24 pm

Logical Dude

February 4th, 2013
1:27 pm

quoting the New York Times quote: “The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate”

Because it’s obvious to many that the Republicans are hurting themselves by being “too Republican”.

indigo

February 4th, 2013
1:31 pm

This Rove project is a good idea as the Party needs to get away from the extreme right. It will probably work in a goodly number of States.

Unfortunately, it won’t work in Georgia. The large number of dirt dumb voters here insure that someone like Paul Broun would be considered the next great hope for fundamentalist conservatism.

SBinF

February 4th, 2013
1:35 pm

“Broun famously called evolution and the Big Bang theory “lies straight from the pit of hell” and suggested Barack Obama has more allegiance to the Soviet constitution than the American one.”

Yeah, unfortunately such statements will draw him widespread support in Ga, instead of ridicule.

Jefferson

February 4th, 2013
1:39 pm

Rove should go strait to jail, he’s a traitor and you can tell he has never worked a day in his life.

JDW

February 4th, 2013
1:39 pm

There is no doubt that the Republicans need better candidates, but the real problem does not lie with the candidates…it is the voters. In particular the Republican primary voters.

Don't Tread

February 4th, 2013
1:51 pm

It seems that the Republicans are attempting to mirror what the Democrats have already done (i.e. run off any candidate that doesn’t completely toe the party line as dictated by the leadership).

That just reinforces the notion that elections are merely a choice between support of Big Government or support of Big Business unless a viable third party gets involved.

Aynie Sue

February 4th, 2013
1:55 pm

There is a rift in the Republican Party between the moderates, who are misguided conservatives, and the crazies, who are evolution deniers, climate change deniers, immigrant haters, gay haters, women denigrators, rape know-it-alls, and assault weapon lovers.

Rather than attempt to bridge the rift, the scoundrel Rove and his super-rich, senile financial backers should encourage the Party to break into New Republicans, who might gain favor among some voters in the populous states of the Northeast and far West, and the New Dixiecrats, who will carry the poor Southern states and the rural Midwest and Mountain states.

What’s the sense of fighting to hold together people of such radically differing political persuasions?

md

February 4th, 2013
1:56 pm

“but the real problem does not lie with the candidates…it is the voters.”

Understatement of the year…….we all know Obama is in his 2nd term…….

JDW

February 4th, 2013
2:05 pm

@md…”Understatement of the year…….we all know Obama is in his 2nd term…….”

Yep, had the Republican primary voters picked better candidates than Mittens or McCain it might have been different. Instead we had to choose between average and disaster…thank goodness we got average because after the disaster of Duhbya it would have been tough to withstand another.

md

February 4th, 2013
2:09 pm

At least Mittens knows how to do math, something this guy seems to have skipped in school. But he is an attorney, so he has the inflate spending/cost part down pat……….

Road Scholar

February 4th, 2013
2:14 pm

“And of course, Rove’s role in George W. Bush’s presidency comes with unfavorable associations of its own: e.g., the creation of Medicare Part D and higher spending more generally.”

Uh, you left out two unfunded wars!

By intervention, are you insinuated that Georgians are incapable of selecting their own candidate/Senator, regardless of party? Or are you suggesting that the candidate selected should preach Mom, and apple pie, and keep any real personal feelings or positiosn to him/her self until they are elected?

The Last Democrat in Georgia

February 4th, 2013
2:28 pm

{{”The question in my mind is how much of a backlash outside intervention — directed at Broun or anyone else — would spark among Georgia’s grass-roots GOP activists. I’d say that’s also probably the question on the minds of Georgia Democrats, who probably need a nasty, divisive Republican primary starting this year and lasting next July, and even to an August runoff, to have a strong chance at winning statewide in 2014. (It will get easier for them in 2016, 2018 and certainly by 2020.)”}}

Even with a nasty, divisive Republican primary, Georgia Democrats would still have virtually no shot of winning statewide in 2014 because, despite highly-favorable demographic trends that are rapidly-changing the state’s population in their favor, Georgia Democrats just simply don’t have the monetary or organizational resources to compete statewide at this point.

And even if the state’s demographics are even more favorable for Georgia Democrats to compete in statewide races in 2016, 2018, 2020 and beyond, Georgia Democrats will still have problems winning statewide races if they have no money and/or organization in races in which their Republican opponents are guaranteed to be heavily-funded and highly-motivated for the foreseeable future.

If Georgia Democrats want to be competitive enough to actually have a shot at winning statewide races sometime before 2030, they’ll have to come up with boatloads of cash, and fast, to compete against a Georgia Republican Party that is going to be in peak form in terms of financing and motivation over the next few election cycles.

Just Saying..

February 4th, 2013
2:31 pm

May we live in interesting times…

One takeaway from this effort is one that so many posters here still have great difficulty acknowledging: The GOP did poorly in November, and shouting the same themes louder won’t change future outcomes.

Kyle Wingfield

February 4th, 2013
2:33 pm

Road @ 2:14: I’m not really sure I get your question. I’d say those who intervened would be the ones making such an insinuation.

Just Saying..

February 4th, 2013
2:34 pm

“Understatement of the year…….we all know Obama is in his 2nd term…….”

Democracy’s hell, md…

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

February 4th, 2013
2:49 pm

“Democracy’s hell, md…”

If we actually were in a democracy, Just Saying, yes, it would be even more of a hell than what we are experiencing in our Republic with the ne’er do well’s we elect on both sides of the aisle today.

Cherokee

February 4th, 2013
2:50 pm

“Mittens knows how to do math”? You’re kidding right? Absoluntely none of his ‘proposals’ – of the few that he actually told us about – worked out when you did the math.

I agree with you though, Kyle, if Rove tries to interfere here or in Iowa, the focus of the piece, it will just infuriate the base, who see themselves as righteous defenders of the faith against the big money Washington crowd.

And Broun will iikely get nomintated.

Cherokee

February 4th, 2013
2:51 pm

By the way, I wondered how long it would take the ‘We’re not a democracy, we’re a republic!’ crowd to respond….

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

February 4th, 2013
2:52 pm

“One takeaway from this effort is one that so many posters here still have great difficulty acknowledging: The GOP did poorly in November, and shouting the same themes louder won’t change future outcomes.”

Not doing as well as they might have based on predictions does not equate to “doing poorly”, Just Saying. They lost a handful of seats nationally and gained seats and control in state and local elections.

That is only “doing poorly” in your warped definition of such.

JDW

February 4th, 2013
2:54 pm

@md…”At least Mittens knows how to do math,”

Really….I was pretty sure Clinton pointed out that as one of his weakest areas.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

February 4th, 2013
2:54 pm

“By the way, I wondered how long it would take the ‘We’re not a democracy, we’re a republic!’ crowd to respond….”

It will continue until you chowderheads who refuse to learn the significant difference learn that difference, Cherokee.

Thomas Heyward Jr

February 4th, 2013
2:54 pm

At the Georgia Republican convention in 2012, There were some brave, principled people who questioned nominating a person (Romney) that supported the NDAA of 2012.(indefinite detention).
.
Sue Everhart helped silence these patriots…………………..and I remember this for the rest of my life.
Decency left……………..the Georgia Republican party.
.
Let the Georgia republicans listen to Rove and company, swallow their pride , and become authoritarian big-government progressive democrats. Quit wasting everyone’s time.
.
They’re only getting in the way of true freedom-loving, constitutional-respecting REAL opposition.
.

ru

February 4th, 2013
3:01 pm

barking frog

February 4th, 2013
3:06 pm

They always do.

yuzeyurbrane

February 4th, 2013
3:09 pm

Should be interesting. I don’t think logic has much to do with it, considering the size of the egos involved on all sides.

indigo

February 4th, 2013
3:16 pm

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

February 4th, 2013
3:22 pm

The Republican civil war is truly and rightly joined

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

February 4th, 2013
3:27 pm

Maybe these guys should focus their attentions on finding a presidential candidate that can beat a two bit tinpot socialist like obozo?

HDB

February 4th, 2013
3:30 pm

Well….I already know where the GOP WON’T look for a candidate………….since they haven’t come ITP for decades…..

Patrick

February 4th, 2013
3:31 pm

Forget the outside intervention. What about the many Georgians who shudder at the thought of a Paul Broun being their Senator? We need a fiscal conservative who believes in efficient and effective government. All the rest of it is baggage that is best left with churches and special interest groups to serve as advocates.

The Snark

February 4th, 2013
3:35 pm

“Georgia’s Republican hierarchy is sufficiently committed to fielding a nominee who’s not dangerously inflammatory.”

So, I guess plain old inflammatory is okay with them?

Cherokee

February 4th, 2013
3:51 pm

Sorry Tib, but you can’t just make up your own definitions for words.

No matter how many times Boortz told you so.

Centrist

February 4th, 2013
3:53 pm

After a little smoke clears, Congressman Tom Price is going to replace Saxby Chambliss.

The real intrigue will be who replaces Price in the House.

It simply will not matter who the Democrats might bother to put forward for either the Senate or the House.

jconservative

February 4th, 2013
4:00 pm

Plainly speaking, if Broun is the nominee I vote for one of the others.

My confidence in Rove matches his career record, not much.

Michael H. Smith

February 4th, 2013
4:14 pm

Vetting candidates has not been one of the GOP’s strong points lately. It is hard to believe that some of those who ran in the last two election cycles weren’t researched better by the local parties. I mean, anarchist, witches, miscarriages caused by a so-called “legitimate rape”?

At the very least the candidates need to be careful in choosing their words wisely enough to be able to give a common sense substantive reason the average person can accept for them making statements that are somewhat reaching, so to speak.

I’m looking Kyle, but I can tell you early on that several names have been eliminated already because of really wacky statements they’ve made.

Kyle Wingfield

February 4th, 2013
4:17 pm

Snark @ 3:35: A Republican would have to be very inflammatory — dangerously so, I’d say — to lose that election in 2014. I was writing purely from the perspective of electoral politics.

Just Saying..

February 4th, 2013
4:24 pm

“Not doing as well as they might have based on predictions does not equate to “doing poorly”, Just Saying. They lost a handful of seats nationally and gained seats and control in state and local elections.”

Disagree, Tib. It was a great opportunity missed. You had an incumbent with lots of minuses, in a really poor economy, and couldn’t beat him. A great chance to take the Senate was wasted by candidates who are the subject of this column. If the country agreed with Republican actions in the House, the Party would have picked up seats. They lost seats. In spite some really egregious gerrymandering.
Together, the GOP’s poor performance has resulted in this effort to, let’s say “shape”, state primaries. People with real skin in the game, i.e., big bucks, want a better return on their investments. They didn’t get those big bucks by ignoring actual outcomes. Poor outcomes…like November 2012.

Matz

February 4th, 2013
4:25 pm

Centrist: “The real intrigue will be who replaces Price in the House.”

Actually, the REAL intrigue will be the story that unfolds about what you obviously don’t know about Dr. Price. Hint: It’s not the secret he thinks it is. If a nasty primary ensues, go ahead and pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. This could get really entertaining.

Dusty

February 4th, 2013
4:28 pm

Ho Hum…I see the welcoming committee of liberals has jumped right in. After all the study they give to Republicans, seems like they would join the sensible conservative party they study.

But no! They stay with the spendthrifts, pernicious healthcare, Constitution breakers, illegal “guests”, and alll forms of deliberate dependency, not to mention the white flag wavers and the mortgage & mortuary production people.

Sensible Republicans in Georgia( like me) will find sensible people and send them to Congress. We have sent thoughtful Isakson, sensible Saxby and nimble-witted Newt who could even keep a budget in tow.

Yep, we have sent brainpower to Congress over the years. We will do it again. We want to give Congress the great energy we possess. They surely need it to offset the deaf & dumb sycophants bowing to the president. He needs more than that crowd to keep him entertained in the” presidential toothpick palace” he has constructed as a liberal led government. More Republican glue is needed to make it into something called “good governance”. Republicans plan to do it.

Michael H. Smith

February 4th, 2013
4:32 pm

Boortz has little to do with determining what is a Democracy and what is a Republic and why the founders chose not to be a Democracy.

From Webster

Democracy

a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority (prime definition of a Democracy)

b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.(closer to a the definition of a Representative Republic where representation is chosen indirectly
e.g. the electoral college whereby we elect the President.)

Madison was very clear as to why the founders avoided choosing a “pure democracy” (of majority rule) for our form of governance which is found in the Federalist paper number 10.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm

Centrist

February 4th, 2013
4:33 pm

@ Matz – You are obviously a partisan, purposely trying to spread mud-racking, unfounded gossip. Politically motivated people like you are a dime a dozen. Maybe Bookman or Galloway will be interested – suggest you send it to them.

If Price had such a skeleton in his closet, it would be all over the liberal media where fact checking is marginal at best concerning Republicans.

Ray

February 4th, 2013
4:34 pm

On January 25th, Kyle you stated:

“Paul Broun: The congressman from Georgia’s 10th District is first on the list alphabetically but probably would be first on the list if I were ranking the possibilities by likelihood of running, too. He has been not-so-coy about giving consideration to running for the seat. Update at 1:25 p.m.: A statement from Broun says he is still “prayerfully considering my own future.”

And, people shuddered everywhere. But not you, Kyle? Papers instantly reported the GOP very well might use its clout to make sure Broun was NOT Georgia’s Republican Senate primary winner, to save the party the embarrassment, and to greatly improve its long term future.

skipper

February 4th, 2013
4:43 pm

Kyle,
Nobody has to sacrifice principles, and though an independent, I am moderate-conservative. However, some of the far-right comments that were made during the campaign were off the charts! The fringe can be in both parties. Perhaps we should interject something that is largely missing in today’s political process: common sense!

Just Saying..

February 4th, 2013
4:45 pm

“After all the study they give to Republicans, seems like they would join the sensible conservative party they study.”

Dusty, your premise is that people have left the Republican Party.
Perhaps you might give some consideration to the theory that, to a greater extent, the Republican Party has left former supporters in the lurch. People who still have great affection for it, and know how necessary a real-world Republican Party is to the health of this republic…er, democracy, Tib.

Just Saying..

February 4th, 2013
4:48 pm

‘If Price had such a skeleton in his closet, it would be all over the liberal media where fact checking is marginal at best concerning Republicans.”

Oh no! You mean like, say, a bankruptcy revealed after voting was over?

Kyle Wingfield

February 4th, 2013
4:48 pm

Ray @ 4:34: Exactly the point I was making. It probably won’t take any out-of-state intervention to ensure someone other than Broun is the GOP nominee. So I’m not really sure what the “But not you, Kyle?” question is getting at.

Matz

February 4th, 2013
4:49 pm

Centrist,

If I were as you say I am, I would have actually spread the gossip. Why wouldn’t I? Oh yeah, because I don’t think such things are pertinent to how a person conducts his professional life. Some of his duped supporters may disagree, however, if he ever faces an opponent who has a shot at the seat and the finances to fight for it. The Georgia Sixth is a piece of cake for the chosen gatekeeper of gated communities and protector of the Koch Constitution. If the good doctor wants the Senate seat, it will be quite a different endeavor. Hey, why not? If next year’s GA primary season is half as entertaining as last year’s Presidential one, it will be a good time all around!

Dusty

February 4th, 2013
4:49 pm

Oh please. Do keep up the good laughs.

A “sensitive” someone here has suggested that Romney was not good at math. Whoopee!

So Democrats elected a man that does not know that borrowing money to pay a huge debt is increasing the debt. That “lifting the ceiling” does not make the debt any less but only makes it possible to increase the debt..

Qbama the great mathematician !! OH, if only!

Michael H. Smith

February 4th, 2013
4:49 pm

I do agree skipper, the absence of common sense is the present political reality in this country. Though, as it is said, the only thing common about common sense is that it is not common to all.