Three likely Republican contenders to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia are worrying Republicans, who fear that the race will produce 2014′s version of 2012′s Republican senate candidate in Missouri, Todd “legitimate rape” Akin.
The Republican primary for the open Senate seat in Georgia is shaping up to be a free-for-all, drawing interest from some of the most conservative members of the House and raising concerns that a race to the right could put in play what should be a safe seat. It comes as the party tries to head off the problem that cost it dearly in 2012: nominating candidates who say things so off-putting to mainstream voters that they blow the election.
Democrats acknowledge that Georgia’s rightward tilt gives Republicans the edge in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. But they’re hopeful that a candidate in the mold of Missouri’s Akin or Indiana’s Richard Mourdock emerges from a bare-knuckled Southern brawl.
So who are the potential candidates?
- Paul Broun: The only candidate to officially declare his run so far, Rep. Paul Broun recently boasted that he was the “first to call Obama a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth.” Prior to that, Broun stirred things up by declaring that “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.”
- Tom Price: After the BP oil spill, Price, the former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, criticized a deal the company made with the Obama Administration to pay $20 billion in damages as “Chicago-style shakedown politics.” More recently, he denied that low-income women might not have access to birth control if the contraception mandate of health care reform is repealed. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”
- Phil Gingrey: Perhaps the closest model to an Akin, Gingrey said in January that Akin was “partly right” when he said that “a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur.” He added: “We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.”