Lynn Westmoreland has said he will think about the race over the next couple of weeks. Some doubt he will run, as he also passed up a statewide race to be governor 3 years ago. But the reasons most cite of why he won’t run are the same ones I remember from 2004, right before he ran for Congress anyway and won.
If he does decide to try and move across the Capitol, he will likely do so with the overt support (and political network) of Governor Nathan Deal. This is an advantage that Price (and, frankly, Chambliss) would not have had. Deal will likely not face a primary challenge of consequence, allowing him to utilize his political network during primary season to help pick the Senator of his choosing.
Furthermore, Westmoreland’s district allows him to bridge the gap between metro Atlanta and South Georgia. South Georgians are already smarting from the amount of political clout that has shifted from their area to well north of Atlanta. They may need to claim Westmoreland’s hometown of Grantville as being “South GA” if they want to retain claim to having a statewide elected official.
As for possible replacements, Senate Majority Ronnie Chance has increased his profile at the capitol significantly while still remaining fairly low key publicly. His current title plus former committee chairs of both Economic Development and Finance (as well as ties to Governor Deal from being a former floor leader) likely put him in the category of being able to raise a lot of money quickly. I have no idea if he’s interested in DC. If he is, others probably have to go through him.
Westmoreland took over the district from Mac Collins (who lost the US Senate race in 2004 to Johnny Isakson and Herman Cain). Collins attended the RNC Convention in Tampa with the Georgia Delegation and still appears to want to return to Washington. Don’t count out another Collins run.
Josh McKoon’s fortunes at the Capitol have changed 180 degrees since ethics reform has gone from the agenda that must remain unspoken to the plan everyone wants to have a hand in. He also seems to have a decent fundraising base and plans to eventually move to a higher office. Could make a credible run, especially if Chance decides to focus on running the Senate.
Matt Ramsey made a name for himself authoring HB 87, to keep illegal immigrants from taking tee times at Peachtree City’s Flat Creek Club. That bill seemed a bit designed to capture statewide Republican upward mobility (similar to how Chip Rogers used the issue to go from freshman to Majority Leader in short order). In today’s political environment where Republicans seem to be looking for a tad bit of demographic acceptance, it remains to be seen if this signature bill still helps, or hurts.
Mike Crane out of Newnan may also take a look. He ran against David Scott in 2010, so he already has one congressional run under his belt. This time, he would actually live in the district.