(AP/Gregory Smith)

Paul Broun enters Georgia Senate race

Paul Broun, one of the true nuts in the House, tests how conservative 2014 GOP primary voters want their candidates


Alex Pareene
January 31, 2013 2:27AM (UTC)

You know that unfair caricature elite coastal liberals have of conservatives as a bunch of mouth-breathing idiot religious fanatic white Southern racists? Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is that guy we're all thinking of, and we're about to see if that caricature can make it to the U.S. Senate.

Steve Kornacki mentioned Broun as a likely candidate to replace the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss earlier this week. Now Broun's wife has made it semi-official, by declaring it to a roomful of people attending some sort of meeting.

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Jaws hit the floor as Representative Broun took the stage and began discussing the usual/current problems in Washington: Congressional gridlock, damage made to the Republican brand, as well as the lack of leadership coming from the West Wing. As the speech wound down, most folks in the audience were looking at one another, presumably thinking the same thing: Is Congressman Broun going to state his case and make his formal announcement to run to replace retiring Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss? To everyone’s dismay, his closing statement did no such thing.

Thankfully, this isn’t where the story ended. As Congressman Broun sat down to a room full of applause followed by a short silence, Dr. Broun’s wife, Niki, stood up in front of the crowd and courageously declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy, the first to formally do so in the wake of Senator Chambliss’ declaration to resign following the remainder of his current term.

If recent history is any indication, Broun and all of his primary competitors -- very likely a bunch of extremely conservative white men -- will fight to see who can out-true conservative the others. In that fight, Broun has some huge advantages, because he is loudly and proudly stupid and extremist.

The Broun clip reel is a mile long, but one of my favorite deep cuts is Rep. Paul Broun referring to the American Civil War as "the War of Yankee Aggression" and then smirking to himself, for his cute little show of support for the Confederate cause:

Now we see if Georgia Republican primary voters pick Broun over someone less likely to constantly call the president a Nazi and a Soviet communist. Georgia's primary election runoff rules might prevent Broun from eking out a plurality victory over a bunch of less-crazy candidates, but even if he doesn't win, he'll definitely push the entire field further to the edge of the fringe that the national party has been trying to back away from since November. This race will basically be a gold mine for the liberal "oh my god did you hear what this horrible Republican candidate said" industry.


Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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