Two sources have told me today that Lee Benedict of Augusta had being asked to take on incumbent Senator Johnny Isakson this year in the Republican Primary. Benedict has run for office twice before; in 2007 for the State Senate seat vacated buy Jim Whitehead, and a 2008 primary challenge to Ben Harbin. Benedict received an endorsement in 2008 from the Republican Liberty Caucus for the Hardin challenge.
I sent an email to Benedict about a potential US Senate run and received this response:
Several people from across Georgia have asked me if I would consider challenging Johnny Isakson for the Republican nomination in 2010. With all of the strong conservative Republicans in this State to ask, I am honored and humbled to be considered worthy of recruitment.
First, let me state that Mr. Isakson was an instrumental part in the growth of the Republican Party in the great State of Georgia, and no one should lose sight of this fact. That being said with sincerity, it is important to note that this does not give one the green light to vote in a fashion that goes against Republican principles.
Mr. Isakson voted for the bailout bill, which is something that no one, let alone a Republican from Georgia, should have voted for. Mr. Isakson voted to confirm Eric Holder as the Attorney General of the United States; the top law enforcement officer in America. Mr. Isakson voted to confirm Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State, America’s top diplomat. While it is certainly true that the President of the United States should have some latitude with filling his cabinet, it is also true that the two aforementioned individuals’ records and histories of radical unconstitutional elitist actions and words should preclude them from serving in any capacity in any government. For the State of Georgia, by way of Mr. Isakson’s votes, to approve of these individuals with agendas contrary to a free republic, is disturbing to say the least.
Mr. Isakson’s history in support of amnesty for illegal aliens is something that I and most Georgians oppose. Georgia has a great product and it is only natural that people would want to come here. But it must be done legally. According to the Georgia Department of Corrections Office of Planning and Analysis (Produced for General Distribution), as of August 01, 2009, there are 2,668 active inmates convicted of felonies sitting in prisons in Georgia who claim foreign birth or citizenship. Any position supporting amnesty is harmful to Georgia, the United States, and the good people therein.
Without getting into the long and tedious details of the bill, it is important to note that Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama inserted an eleventh-hour provision into a $550+ billion spending bill that impacts Georgia’s water supply, something that he has been trying to do for years, without objection from Mr. Isakson.
I would have voted nay on the bailout measure, nay on the confirmation of Eric Holder, nay on the confirmation of Hillary Clinton, and, I would have opposed Mr. Shelby’s provision and any form of amnesty.
In my opinion, the positions taken by Mr. Isakson on these matters warrant a primary challenge. As you know, Georgia has a few more square miles than Delaware, and that being the case, a statewide campaign team is essential. Also noteworthy is the fact that it will cost approximately $5,250 for one to get his/her name on the ballot, plus an additional $750,000-$1,500,000 to traverse Georgia meeting its lovely people in order to be victorious. Mr. Isakson has more than $3.9 million cash on hand in his campaign account. With a primary date of July 20th, it would be difficult for me to raise enough money and build a statewide organizational network to mount a serious challenge to Mr. Isakson.
I have the passion and the ideas required to win a primary election and a general election, and to then serve with honor and distinction in the United States Senate. With all of these attributes, I feel as though time is not a friend, and I cannot in good conscious ask people to devote time and resources to a task of this magnitude.
I am truly honored, but at this time I must say that I wish to devote my energy to the Georgia gubernatorial primary and to some local races right here in Columbia County. To all of those who have asked me to run, I appreciate it more than you will ever know and I will never ever forget it…but at this time I must respectfully decline.
I wish all of you the very best, and I respectfully ask that these concerns be addressed to Mr. Isakson, to whom I also wish well. Thank you all once again, and God bless!