Popping the balloon: John Smoltz says he’s not interested in Congress

Had a text-message exchange this morning with former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who was caught off-guard by Republican interest in seeing him run for U.S. John Linder’s seat in a July primary.

Linder announced his retirement Saturday morning. We immediately got a call from Washington letting us know that Republicans intended to approach Smoltz to enter the campaign to replace him.

Pardon the language, but the brief conversation with Smoltz went something like this:

Me: jim galloway w ajc politics here. Could u call re ur interest in linder seat? Thx.

Smoltz: I do not know what you are talking about I am not in any way involved in anything regarding politics sorry.

Me: [Certain Washington source] says u would make gud candidate to replace john linder who has announced retirement. Interested?

Smoltz: Sorry I am not.

Smoltz followed this messages with a phone call an hour or so later, and — and from a volleyball tournament in Alabama — confessed that he’d thought someone had been playing a joke on him.

Assured that the GOP interest in him was indeed real, Smoltz still said no to a congressional run. “It’s not in my plans,” he said. Ever? The pitcher said he’s learned never to say never, but repeated his lack of current interest.

With that balloon popped, we move on.

One Republican strategist this morning noted the importance of the timing of Linder’s announcement. The end of March marks the end of the first quarter federal disclosure period for campaign contributions.

So the first fund-raising numbers for candidates to replace Linder will be made public in mid-April, letting us know who – at least in financial terms – are the most viable. So the sprint may be even shorter than the July primary date implies.

The names currently in the mix this morning:

– A Web page has been set up by Seth Weathers in an attempt to generate buzz for long-time Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway. Says Weathers on www.draftbutchconway.com:

Conway will be a strong reasoned voice for the FairTax to continue the fight Congressman Linder started.

Sheriff Conway has been a national voice for illegal immigration enforcement, doing so through implementing 287g in Gwinnett County. He has drastically reduced the number of illegal immigrants in our county.

– Don Balfour (R-Snellville), the chairman of the state Senate Rules Committee and a Waffle House executive;

– Ralph Reed, the former head of the national Christian Coalition and ex-chairman of the Georgia GOP. The Gwinnett County resident lost a 2006 primary race for lieutenant governor to Casey Cagle.;

–State Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth), who – this time last year – was engaged in an all-out race for lieutenant governor. He suspended his campaign when Cagle, anticipating back surgery, abandoned his 2010 plans to run for governor;

– Chuck Efstration, chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party and assistant district attorney;

– State Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross);

– State Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn).

If you know of anyone else, we’d like hear.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

69 comments Add your comment

Smarter'n the average bear

February 28th, 2010
12:27 pm

I just wish those Hollywood types had as much insight. Jocks and celebrities (unless they are VERY well educated) should do what they do best . . . help us to FORGET political reality by entertaining us.

Chris

February 28th, 2010
12:35 pm

Another sign that Smoltz is a sellout. He sold out his country by staying with the Braves when they were owned by the anti-American Ted Turner and his now divorced wife Jane Fonda. He continued to sell out the Braves when they were owned by Time Warner and their vicous anti-American attacks against our military and President Bush in a time of war. He sold out his faith in a 1996 “700 Club” interview when he refused to denounce the atheist Turner. He sold out his country again during the Bush Administration for refusing to stand up against Ted Turner or Time Warner when Turner called Bush “Hitler” or when people in Time Warner like Jack Cafferty of CNN called for Bush’s impeachment. He sold out to his team in 2009 when he backed out a three-year contract he signed in 2007. And finally, he sold out his country by refusing to fight against the tyrants in this government that are supported by Turner and the Braves former owner, Time Warner, in turning the average American into a serf.

I hope you can live with yourself Mr. Smoltz.

Chris

February 28th, 2010
12:36 pm

Makes me also wonder if Smoltz was programmed by CNN’s Dr. Gupta when the Braves were owned by Time Warner.

Diehard

February 28th, 2010
12:43 pm

The AJC uses a National Enquirer tactic to draw in readers: Print a story with no fact check hoping that readers will buy to read . . . pitiful state of journalism as we know it.

Tim

February 28th, 2010
12:47 pm

my what a patriot you are, Chris..I didn’t know Waffle House had WiFi?

Jessica

February 28th, 2010
12:48 pm

The man was working for the Braves. You expect him to go on TV and denounce the very organization that was helping feed his family? Get real Chris. You’re silly!!!!!!

Josh M

February 28th, 2010
12:56 pm

“Ur?” “Gud?” I mean, I get it – they’re text messages. But you’re a journalist! Show more pride in your language, and don’t contribute to the dumbing down of literacy. At least Smoltz seems to get it.

Mark

February 28th, 2010
12:58 pm

Chris, you ain’t for real. You were jiving us, right?

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:05 pm

Hey Chris you are a real retard!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go spew your anti-american crap on a right wing site please!! I love how you stand up for a war criminal who stepped all over the Constitution because of his low intelligence level and just a lack of understanding for this country’s principles. You are so dumb that you did not even realize that Ted was the best owner of a MLB franchise there ever was. Remember the 14 staright titles. No Brave player will ever say anything bad about Ted because they all knew what a great owner he was, and how much he did for his team. It sounds like you are a corporate lacky, well look at the braves now with its corporate ownership and how much they care about the crappy product they put out there. In the end corporations do not care about product only care about mass production and mass profits and the Braves have become a great example of that product at best an average team that may never ever again smell the playoffs until there is an ownership change. God how I long for day when Ted or someone like him buy the team again and make this town proud of its team again. Did I tell you what a freakin retard you are, go back to your cave or rock you crawled out from under, BOY!!!!!

AnotherChris

February 28th, 2010
1:05 pm

Comments like Chris’ makes me want to move out of Georgia. This is another typically ignorant idea from Republicans to run someone unqualified for the job. I bet I have spent way more time than Chris in Iraq and I wanted George W Bush impeached as well. I guess I am unamerican for wanting that even though I put my life on the line for America and her childlike president(W).

Mike

February 28th, 2010
1:06 pm

Hey, if Chris is making the rules, call me a commie! What a dumba**!

Magsol

February 28th, 2010
1:07 pm

Don’t feel the trolls/Chris, people.

And I would agree with Josh M – c’mon AJC writers, surely you don’t write your articles like you write your text messages and make your editors clean up that mess before going to press.

Mark Bittner

February 28th, 2010
1:07 pm

I’m an average middle class family man who doesn’t have alot of money but does have some good ideas, a load of common sense and no political background. Think I have a chance at running?

cb

February 28th, 2010
1:13 pm

Nick P., thanks for saying “retard”, you sound so insightful and educated.

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:16 pm

Hi, I am Chris: blah, blah, blah!! I love this country, blah, blah, blah, you cant love a country and want it to improve at the same time, blah, blah, blah! You have to love it the way it is, filled with idiots like me, blah, blah! I also have a US flag hanging outside of my front door which makes me a patriot blah, blah, blah. when it comes to offering real solutions to improve the country I suggest wearing a flag pin and telling others our country is the greatest without actually wanting to improve anything,or for that matter ever actually traveling and seeingother countries for myself blah, blah, blah!! Dont you just love my fake patriotism, blah, blah, blah!!

Farsider

February 28th, 2010
1:17 pm

Smoltz is not a serious politician but there are plenty of veterans like Balfour who should be ready, willing and able. This is still a safe Republican seat and will only get safer after upcoming redistricting. Whoever wins this election will be in this seat as long as they want it.

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:17 pm

CB, are you a Palin lover!! which could mean you are a retard!

L. Grizzard's Ghost

February 28th, 2010
1:18 pm

Draft Mark Bittner . . .

Mark

February 28th, 2010
1:19 pm

I like David Shafer. He’s my state senator, and he’s a very smart guy.

cb

February 28th, 2010
1:20 pm

Nick P, wow you’re such big person. Do you ever get tired of carrying around so much hate and anger?

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:22 pm

for peole such as yourself, it gives me pleasure! By the way anytime you want to compare degrees or wit just let me know, and if you actually have something to contribute please do so, but coming after me wont do it!

Michael

February 28th, 2010
1:23 pm

I’m not a big fan of Smoltz’s politics, but I’d rather see Smoltz in the White House than see a whack job like Chris in any political office. What a nutcase!

cb

February 28th, 2010
1:25 pm

Sad to say, I’m on your side-you just sound like such an idiot, it’s embarrasing. As far as degrees, you better have something higher than a doctorate to make that challenge.

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:27 pm

i also have a phd if thats what you mean! but back to you being a retard…..!

cb

February 28th, 2010
1:30 pm

Good luck to you, sir. Sounds like you have a great life.

GOP Job Posting: Must be able to vote "No" and repeat lies.

February 28th, 2010
1:38 pm

I guess John didn’t want to sell his soul. When will the GOP give up on this tactic? Will sports stars and pretty faces (ie. Palin and Brown) make the lies the GOP feeds us taste less like $#!+ and more like sugar. Don’t insult us GOP! If you want our vote, offer us someone with experience and integrity (for once), not a pretty face that will vote the way they are told.

Christie S.

February 28th, 2010
1:39 pm

PLEASE, voters…ANYONE but Ralph Reed. The very last thing our state needs is an Abramhoff sycophant being elected to the House of Representatives. Talk about a fox in the henhouse!

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
1:42 pm

keep you your eyes on the ball CB. for too long people who share my views have stayed quiet and have allowed the liars on the other side to dictate and run the arguments or debates! no more high road. When I see their lies I will call them out for it, too many idiots live in this country and they have been brain washed by corporate interests and lobbyists to vote against their own interests. If health care does not change and get reformed, pretty soon many more people such as you and myself will be the next victims as we will be kicked off of our policies or simply will not be able to afford the future premium hikes. I will fight back and will do so with nothing but facts, and I will use the same demeaning tactics that the other side uses to express my point. Now, I call that fighting back on a level playing field. So, even though it seems like I am fighting with you, I am not, you only chose to interject your self with me, but as you can see I am all about hitting back people like Chris to put them in their place when they get the way they do! No more lies, no more corporate interests!

Maretta

February 28th, 2010
1:44 pm

How about that reactionary Neil Boortz or John Kincaid.

Mr. KnowitAll

February 28th, 2010
1:52 pm

Tom Rice??? Tom Rice??? I am in his district in Fulton Co. and he has been the most absentee representative I have ever seen in politics. tom Rice is a no-op back bencher. I can’t believe he is even being considered.

David Shafer is definitely a go-getter and moves some legislation. A behind-the-scenes politician, this guy gets things done—and a TRUE conservative. See his legislation for a zero-based budget—something ANY conservative or taxpayer would support.

cb

February 28th, 2010
1:54 pm

Nick P., agreed, but please don’t forget you values in the process. Politics is extremely ugly–stooping to their level can turn a lot people you might have othewise persuaded or enlightened off. The government is to run with consent of the governed, not the consent of the lobbyists! Healthcare does need to be improved, but with great caution so as not let government take it over and increase control. Liberty, freedom of ideas, and the right to choose our own healthcare is what we need.

Washing DC here

February 28th, 2010
1:59 pm

The northern Atlanta suburbs have given us accompished U.S. Congressman such as McDonald, Gingrich, and Linder. Nothing against Smoltz; but we need another political heavyweight in that particular slot. If Smoltz he wants to help, he should move to Atlanta and try to take a Democratic seat since anybody would be an improvement there.

Nick P.

February 28th, 2010
2:01 pm

Tom Price, and you are correct!

Tom Glavine

February 28th, 2010
2:01 pm

How about me? Im lookin hard for some local love, but it’s so hard to find.

Gwinnetian

February 28th, 2010
2:23 pm

Rep. Bobby Reese needs to get out of the 9th Distict race.

He is clearly a political opportunitist, running in a district he doesn’t live in.

With his own District open, his rationale for running over in the 9th looks even more illogical.

Finnius J.

February 28th, 2010
3:09 pm

So ‘ol Smuck knows he’d get raked over the coals if he ran for office. Smart move. Hey GOP! Why don’t you run Bobby Cox? Word’s out he’s looking for something to do soon. Better yet, try running the guy who owns the Love Shack chain. You may not like his business, but he is a small business owner in the area and he will tell it like it is, like it or not!

benn

February 28th, 2010
3:19 pm

Hat’s off to Smoltz. It takes a smart man to stay OUT of politics.

PCBobby

February 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

Has Linder endorsed Butch Conway yet? Butch is being considered for the 7th- he’s a far right conservative sheriff who has a solid takes-no-prisoners attitude – especially with 287G. Phil Kent will definitely back Butch.

Harry

February 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

@Mr. Knowitall Tom is typically at his wife’s house in Dahlonega. He’s totally out of touch with the district. Tom has been there for 14 years and has done nothing. He’s an arrogant jerk who needs to retire. I am considering his opponent this fall.

Mike Smith

February 28th, 2010
3:41 pm

The Ox is taking a hard look at the seat, so he can take up the fairtax torch.

Sick of Republicans

February 28th, 2010
3:52 pm

Chris, you are one scary dude. Do you just have a weekend pass or what? You ultra right wingers are really out of the ozone.

Confused Voter

February 28th, 2010
4:00 pm

Mike: Is your comment serious or are you just kidding? Since he has made so many blunders
in the race for Republican candidate for governor, is he throwing in the towel. If so, won`t his
baggage follow him whatever race he gets in?

Matt

February 28th, 2010
4:08 pm

Would State Rep. David Casas (R) consider it? He had a big fight to retain his seat in 2008 and got less than 55% of the vote in his district. He has to know that his days are probably numbered in that area of Gwinnett, so might he decide to try for the more Republican GA-07 seat?

Similar thing for former State Rep. John Heard (R-Lawrenceville). He could make another run at the guy that unseated him in 2008 (Lee Thompson), but the ability for a Republican to win long-term in Lawrenceville is doubtful.

Or could State Rep. Bobby Reese (R-Sugar Hill) decide to switch from the GA-09 race to GA-07. It would make sense. First, he lives in GA-07. Second, the Republican primary in GA-09 is incredibly crowded, and it looks like either State Senator Lee Hawkins and State Rep. Tom Graves will be the nominee there. The only reasons I can think of for Reese not to switch are fear of looking overly ambitious and non-committal, the weaker Republican hold on GA-07 (he’d be switching from the most Republican Congressional district in Georgia to the least Republican district in Georgia held by Republicans), and deference to any of the candidates that may run in GA-07 (e.g. Balfour, Shafer, etc).

The General

February 28th, 2010
5:27 pm

Hope Balfour runs…and loses, maybe that’s what’s needed to get that yahoo out of the State Senate. Shafer would be a good man for the job, Casas as well.

Ticked Off

February 28th, 2010
5:36 pm

I for one am glad he made the decision he did……

Harry

February 28th, 2010
6:11 pm

Ah, we forgot about voucher-dude Casas, a right-wing religious douchebag worse than Linder. Shafer is a total schmuck. Do you remember his Water Pipeline to Nowhere idea? Can we please fire all of these religious zealot jackasses and elect sane middle of the road people who will get our economy back on track?

Pompano

February 28th, 2010
6:16 pm

Thought Smoltz would be a joke of a choice. Conway would be excellent – he’s done a great job here in Gwinnett.

Tom Collins

February 28th, 2010
6:21 pm

There is no doubt that Chris’ comments are foolish. But the hatred comments from the left are even more disturbing. Their invective and hateful attributions not only demean them but dismiss them. BTW how many of the respondents to this article have an MBA from Harvard? Bush wasn’t great by any stretch but don’t call him stupid. Misguided maybe, foolish certainly but stupid, no. As a conservative I deeply regret what the Republican Party did to our country during the Bush years. But what is happening now is more than frightening, it is downright scary. As an immigrant to this wonderful country some 50 years ago with a love of freedom but only $27 in my pocket, I can’t tell you how blessed I am. I have lived the American dream and I am thankful but stop the hateful and stupid comments simply because you are a Democrat and think that being hateful is OK. It’s not. I deplore the direction this land is taking. It is socialism, it is SCARY. Chris is foolish as I said but there is no question that Jane Fonda was a traitor. That doesn’t make Ted a traitor, just a horny dude with a poor choice in female companionship. I would be very hard pressed to call Bush a traitor, by any definition. A lousy President very likely but a hell of a lot better than the chap from Chicago!

Ole Guy

February 28th, 2010
7:17 pm

It really doesn’t matter who fills the seat. You could put the Pope into politics and it would only be a matter of time before he would succumb to the siren of money. Ole Abe’s “…of the people, by the people, for the people…”, as valorous as it once was, is now a dead horse, lost in the history of quaintness.

PCBobby

February 28th, 2010
7:40 pm

@Harry @Mr. KnowItAll I’m not sure if Rice could qualify for the 7th since he’s got so many homes all over the place. Great, let him be a US Congressman to take all of your money and then do nothing with it because that’s what this next Congress will be – total do-nothings….