Republicans worry about hanging on to open Georgia Senate seat

And finding themselves in another Todd Akin situation

By Jillian Rayfield

Published April 22, 2013 1:31PM (EDT)

Republicans are concerned that they could lose an open Senate seat in Georgia, vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss - particularly with two Todd Akin-esque candidates, Paul Broun and, to a lesser degree, Phil Gingrey, in the race.

From the Associated Press:

The question is whether a bruising party primary becomes a liability, particularly if voters nominate U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who once called evolution and the Big Bang Theory "lies straight from the pit of hell."

Broun and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, both conservative physicians, are the only Republicans to announce officially since incumbent Saxby Chambliss said he will retire. But the GOP primary field eventually could include as many as a half-dozen candidates with a credible shot at a runoff spot.

"There's no question that the Republican Party in Georgia and the nation are concerned that we could have another Todd Akin-type scenario here," Heath Garrett, a GOP campaign consultant and former aide to Sen. Johnny Isakson, told the AP.

Aside from his comments about evolution, Broun has recently said that there shouldn't be funding for sex-change operations because "I like being a boy,” and 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.”

Gingrey found himself in trouble when he defended Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, saying that Akin was "partly right." He later said that it was "stupid" to do so, and that he had “made a very awkward attempt to explain the unexplainable.”

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2014 Elections Georgia Paul Broun Phil Gingrey Republicans Saxby Chambliss