If Jack Kingston Runs For Senate…

Jack Kingston is the Republicans longest serving Congressman.  His seniority has landed him a coveted spot chairing the appropriations committee that controls all spending for Health and Human Services (which in federal speak is ‘a lot’).  But still, the chance to become a U.S. Senator doesn’t come around every day.  Kingston is taking a serious look.

That serious look has to include where the Republican votes are now in a primary. One of our commenters, Northside101, was kind enough to show us where votes came from for the March Presidential Preference Primaries.  It wasn’t South Georgia:

CD 9 (Doug Collins)—94,658

CD 6 (Tom Price)——90,318

CD 11 (Phil Gingrey)—90,115

CD 3 (Lynn Westmoreland)—85,751

CD 10 (Paul Broun)—79,983

CD 7 (Rob Woodall)—73,065

CD 14 (Tom Graves)—68,501

CD 8 (Austin Scott)—61,014

CD 12 (John Barrow)—57,989

CD 1 (Jack Kingston)—55,199

CD 2 (Sanford Bishop)–40,933

CD 13 (David Scott)—40,547

CD 4 (Hank Johnson)—40,307

CD 5 (John Lewis)–23,090

Still, Kingston is a good fundraiser and could possibly get the help of the Governor and his political machine.  Even so, because he has been on the appropriations committee (and has a district that liked his ability to earmark when that was allowed), he still may be a hard sell to many North Georgia Republican voters who elect folks like “Just Say No” Graves, Broun, and Collins.

If he were to run, you would have to quickly ask former Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson what he’s up to.  Chances are, he would be on the phone raising money for a Congressional bid when you tried to ask that.  It would be hard to imagine that Johnson wouldn’t use the opportunity to get back on the elected side of politics.

I won’t pretend to know this district as well as others on here (thus the request for suggestions), but I would have to assume that Senator Buddy Carter would be all over this, and Representative Ron Stephens would also give a strong look.  Who else?


  1. Charlie says:

    One of my Savannah area friends was kind enough to drop a note saying that Rep. Ben Watson is Jack Kingston’s brother in law, and probably should be included in any succession plans.

  2. Napoleon says:

    I wouldn’t count Eric Johnson out for the top seat. South GA base with a statewide network from his 2010 primary run. Considered and all around “nice guy” and seemed to be everyone’s second choice which put him #3 in the primary.

    Would be a strong challenger for Kingston’s seat if Kingston decides to make the move, but could also be a strong contender for Senate if Kingston stays put.

  3. Bill Dawers says:

    I’ll just add that while Savannah is the largest metro area in the first district, it seems entirely likely that a Kingston replacement (if there were to be one) would come from outside Chatham County.

    In November, Kingston beat Lesli Messinger in Chatham County, 52.6% to 47.3% (54,960 to 49,397). But he won the entire district 63.0% to 37.0% (157,181 to 92,399). In other words, while Kingston only won his home county by less than 6,000 votes, he took the rest of the district by about 60,000 votes. A Republican based in, say, Glynn County might have a built-in advantage in a primary over a Republican based in Chatham.

    • drjay says:

      that 54k is still a third of his vote total from just one county for 2012–if you look at last primary of consequence–the 2012 prez primary chatham votes in gop primary was more than double that of glynn–a sav’h based candidate be it carter or eric johnson or the like will still be well positioned…although there are some folks down the coast that might be looking also like jeff chapman or william ligon (just mentioning folks, not an inside scoop or anything…)

      • Bill Dawers says:

        Good points. I guess the question would be whether someone outside Chatham could position him- or herself as the “not-Savannah” candidate and accumulate votes from most of the smaller counties.

  4. northside101 says:

    Dr. Jay is right on…though Chatham is trending Democratic (it has voted Democratic for president in 4 of the last 5 presidential elections, exception being in 2000 when Bush won it by a mere 257 votes), the county still outvotes Glynn every time in a GOP primary:

    2012 Pres Primary—Chatham 18,828 ttotal votes, Glynn 8,820

    2010 Primary for Governor—Chatham 16,725, Glynn 10,008

    2008 Pres. Primary: Chatham 24,250, Glynn 9,764

    2004 US Senate Primary: Chatham 16,895, Glynn 9,774

    Kingston’s district still favors the GOP, but it is a lot less Republican than before because Barrow’s old Democratic precincts in Savannah were placed in Kingston’s CD 1 in 2011 redistricting. Kingston’s old 1st CD (as it existed back in then) in 2008 would have given McCain 63%, but the new 1st CD gave McCain a much reduced 55% of the vote (to 44% Obama). Romney got 56% in Kingston’s district last November, slightly above the 53% Romney got statewide in Georgia.

  5. IndyInjun says:

    The last redistricting really screwed two up and coming GOP strongholds with Effingham split between the 1st and 12th and Columbia split between the 12th and 10th.

    Damned shame.

  6. drjay says:

    interesting how things change, whether it’s this time around or another decade from now, this district really does illustrate the changing tides of ga politics. before kingston there had not been a savannahian in this seat since the early 1900’s it had been populated by former mayors of statesboro and state reps from metter and such. in 92, the last time the seat was open the race was to replace a popular dem from, i believe, statesboro who had won his last election with over 70% of the vote (there had not been a gop congressman for ga-1 since reconstruction)

    the dem race was a 7 person free for all (that included the son of a former congressman) that ended with a school principal from around the golden isles defeating the mayor of hinesville in a runoff

    kingston defeated a businessman from brunswick 80-20 in the overlooked gop primary, cook eventually moved this race from leans dem to toss up and kingston won fairly handily all things considered.

    now an open race here would prob be a free for all on the gop side, and would be interesting to see if the dem crop is more formidable than any of the challengers kingston has faced through the years…

    • Engineer says:

      ” in 92, the last time the seat was open the race was to replace a popular dem from, i believe, statesboro”

      Nope, Lindsay Thomas is from Pierce County (more specifically Patterson, GA). As a fellow who grew up in Pierce, I had to correct that.

      • drjay says:

        born in patterson yes, but (and i may be misremembering) by the time he was elected to congress i thought he was involved in banking and had a farm in bulloch county…

        • drjay says:

          in fact i am almost certain that he was always described as the “statesboro democrat” or “the congressman from statesboro” in the news when i was growing up.

  7. ShiftingTides88 says:

    All good points. The district could be at risk for Rs, and it’s hard to anticipate the political climate in 2 yrs. I do agree a Chatham based candidate remains well positioned… Keep an eye out for the name David Schwarz in coming days too. A Savannah native, he is a former top Kingston aide, and still a close confidante, having worked in DC for many years and for a major GA law firm. He has very strong contacts from GA to DC and is a neighbor of Kingston’s on the Isle of Hope to boot…

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