GA-11 Primer: There Will Be Candidates And Rumors Of Candidates

Let’s take a look at the candidates that we expect to consider a race for Georgia 11 with incumbent Congressman Phil Gingrey looking to relocate to the other side of the Capitol.

Bob Barr – He’s been running for something for years – for President as a Libertarian, and took a strong look at GA-14 last year before deciding it was career suicide to primary a popular incumbent Congressman.  After all, who in their right mind would do that?  Certainly not a life long Republican.  Oh wait.  Don’t count Barr out as he has a lot of friends who remain in the upper portions of GA-11, but his candidacy still has to be considered a long shot.  Update – Barr has an announcement scheduled for tomorrow.

Barry Loundermilk – I don’t know him but a lot of my friends respect him.  He’s a “true believer” and will attract the votes of those who believe the Constitution is a rigid and infallible document and is to be literally interpreted exactly as those who use the word Constitution in every discussion believe it to mean.  He’ll do very well in Bartow and Cherokee.  Will he sell in East Cobb and Buckhead?  Consider him a strong contender.

Judson Hill – Like Barr, he’s been running for something for months.  Years really. Hill knows he is destined for bigger and better things.  His hair, after all, is much too good to remain confined to the state level.  He doesn’t seem to care if it’s CD 6 or CD 11 or US Senate.  He doesn’t seem to mind if he tells small groups at political gatherings that he’s going to primary Saxby AND Isakson – oblivious to the fact that he was talking to Congressional staffers at the time.  After all, he can just deny knowing how those horrible rumors got started later.  Much like sponsoring a bill demanding all Georgians buy health insurance one year and then one explicitly making health care requirements illegal the next, Hill is right where he knows you want him to be at any point in time.  He’s perfect for Congress – so long as you want it to remain an institution with less respect than lice, Nickelback, and cockroaches.

Chip Rogers – This seat was drawn for either him or Sean Jerguson.  Chip would have to give up his lucrative $150,000 taxpayer funded job at GPTV for only a $20,000 pay raise.  And he’d have to deal with those pesky voters again.  Ones who would want him to explain why he has become a walking caricature of contradiction.  Jurguson just lost what should have been a safe Senate seat for him.  We don’t need a televangelist sports handicapper to tell us the odds on these entrants.

Tricia Pridemore – Tricia has been a loyal confidante of Governor Deal, and has presided over a reorg of Georgia’s Workforce Development department with amazing efficiency.  Her only high profile run as a candidate was for State Party Chair, but she remains on good terms with many activists from her home base within the Cobb GOP as well as Governor Deal’s campaign team.  She’s smart, issue oriented, and full of energy.  The only question is does she even want this job?  Many of us would prefer someone who has to ask themselves that question than those who have been preening for any title in any district that is available.  Don’t count her out.

Doug MacGinnitie – Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Revenue and former candidate for Secretary of State.  Perhaps the nicest modern day Zacchaeus you’ll ever meet. Despite those who think otherwise, actually lives in the 11th (not the 6th).  Geographically not in the heart of the district, but can raise money and possibly self fund.  Same question as Pridemore would be is this what he wants?

Ed Lindsey – House Minority Whip is considering a move to Congress.  Same geographical problem as MacGinnitie.  Will an attorney from Buckhead sell in Cherokee and Bartow?  With the House fundraising machine and the Fulton Republican base at his disposal, money shouldn’t be a problem.  His biggest challenge would be using that money to sell himself to those who are skeptical of anything inside I-285.  Yet his friends from North Georgia in the house should be able to be a good assist.  He’ll be competitive early, and after that what he does is up to him.

Jeff Lewis11th District DOT Board Member is also taking a look.  He’s much better known in the Bartow area of the district than the Cobb/Fulton end – which would be the expensive part of the district to build name ID.  And he may want to look at the performance of David Doss who attempted to move from DOT board to the State Senate.  The DOT board is very powerful and well known to the inside baseball crowd.  That power and prestige is virtually unknown to most in the retail politics arena.  Lewis would need to start with the assumption that he’s running as a virtual unknown rather than that of someone who holds a seat of real power if he is to put together any winning strategy for a campaign based in reality.

Those are the names I hear for this race most frequently.  Feel free to add others below (and I may update here if there’s someone I forgot).


  1. Ron2008 says:

    Don’t think bob is a long shot. He has proven he can raise millions and the presidential thing does not hurt him. Think the people in bartow and Cherokee like John McCain?

    • Charlie says:

      Let him prove he can raise millions today and I’ll gladly retract that.

      I think the part of the district he can pick up support is Bartow and Cherokee. And I think most of those people that like Barr will love Barry Loudermilk.

  2. JayJacket says:

    The vast majority of votes will come from west Cobb and Cherokee to a lesser extent, so the Bartow folks have an uphill battle and fundraising will be difficult as there’s not a lot of money in Cartersville. Fulton candidates are also fighting an uphill battle as there’s only a tiny portion within CD11. If Price gets into the Senate race don’t expect Fulton GOP attention or money to flow into CD11. 11 will likely remain a Cobb seat.

  3. Tiberius says:

    Despite making a fabulous member of the U.S. House, Lindsey is needed too much in the GA House. As the Whip, he has provided a keen intellectual mind and a sense of sanity to a Caucus that is sometimes bereft of it. Also, he has provided impeccable leadership on this year’s Fulton bills and we will need him for any future rounds in the Fulton wars.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Agree wholeheartedly. But alas, embalming fluid is the only cure for political ambition.

      Edward has a list of conservative accomplishments in the legislature that’s going to impress folks whether he’s campaigning in Bartow or Fulton County.

      +1 to the “I’ll believe it when I see it” fundraising prowess of Barr.

      Why isn’t Ed Setzler on this list?

      Jeff Lewis would be a good Congressman.

      MacGinnitie from all appearances is doing well.

  4. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    Too bad it’s not Mrs. Barr running… she’d win and bring some crossover votes with her.

  5. Tiberius says:

    Lindsey should also do well in Vinings/Smyrna and the older Marietta precincts. Combine this with Fulton and the upper middle class, suburban voters of west Cobb and Cherokee and he may have a path to victory.

  6. TheEiger says:

    I really like Ed. I hope he stays in the GA House because he can’t win this congressional seat. The Fulton, Vinings and Smyrna parts of the 11th aren’t even enough to get him into the runoff.

  7. Cloverhurst says:

    Another one to consider. Sheriff Roger Garrison in Cherokee.
    Probably would have Neil Warren’s support in Cobb.

      • Three Jack says:

        Garrison will retire then be appointed to some six figure state public safety position…no way he runs for any office again.

  8. MattMD says:

    Literal interpretations of the Constitution are meaningless. I just don’t see how you ignore 240 years of case law and precedent based on your own opinion of the Constitution. That does not sound like a recipe for solving our nation’s problems.

    Anytime someone talks about a literal interpretation, note how neatly it dovetails with their (or their parties prevailing) political opinion. How convenient.

  9. Charlie says:

    From Ed Lindsey via Facebook:

    The Future of Georgia’s 11th Congressional District

    Dear Friends and Neighbors:

    Today, I thank my Congressman Phil Gingrey for his outstanding service to our 11th Congressional District over the past six terms in Congress and wish him well in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

    The citizens of the 11th must now carefully consider who can best represent our conservative values in Congress and help get America back on the right path to prosperity.

    I strongly believe that we need a conservative reformer with an optimistic vision for our future representing us in Congress. Critical issues are on our country’s agenda such as renewing our economy, creating economic opportunity and prosperity, balancing the budget, and strengthening our national security to protect our families. Our federal government is simply out of control and must be reformed.

    This is not a job for the quitters or the whiners. We will accomplish nothing with mere angry rhetoric and empty promises. The people of Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb and Fulton counties deserve a proven conservative reformer they can trust in Congress.

    I am currently focusing on the last days of this year’s General Assembly in which I am working to expand school choice and education reform, improve the state’s economic climate for businesses and workers, improve our precious water supply for our citizens, and protect our young from the scourge of human trafficking.

    After the session concludes, my wife Elizabeth and I plan to sit down with our three college age sons and our friends to decide if a campaign for Congress is in our future.

    If I decide to run, I will wage a campaign which listens to the needs of the people in the 11th District and fights to insure that their voice is heard in Washington.

    Within the two next weeks, I will make my final decision. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated by me, Elizabeth, and our boys.

    State Representative Edward Lindsey
    Georgia House Republican Majority Whip

  10. bulldawg11 says:

    A large part of the district, population wise, is in Cobb and Fulton. Barrow and Cherokee only makeup a little bit less than 40% of it. I wouldn’t dismiss the inside Atlanta crowd just because they’d have trouble carrying the northern part.

    • JayJacket says:

      Fulton County makes up less than 10% of the district voter-wise. If I remember correctly, there’s 12 Fulton precincts in CD11. And even Vinings is a tiny part in comparison to west Cobb.

  11. James Fannin says:

    You left out one potential candidate that could really make a run for the seat and would absolutely be running for all the right reasons – Senator Hunter Hill. Hunter is a Westminster grad, West Point grad, infantry officer, and ranger- airborne soldier who has successfully led troops in combat in Afghanistan. He has put his life on the line but that is simply a tribute to his character but there is so much more to this guy. Anyone who watched him come in, work his tail off, come out of nowhere and blow away his formidable competition in the Republican primary for the Senate seat he now holds would have to agree this guy has unparalleled campaigning skills, an admirable work ethic, and frankly stamina. We need a candidate who will go to DC, represent the District and stay there long enough to learn how to get things done and then do them. We need a workhorse not a show horse and frankly, no one will ever outwork Hunter Hill. I know he just won a seat in the Senate and it is early but the time is now. We have a whole lot of potential candidates who say they want to serve but Hunter is the right candidate at the right time and I truly hope he will get in this race.

    As for Bob Barr, I love Bob Barr. With Bob Barr you get a guy who is unequaled in his wholehearted support for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I have always said that when you sign up with Bob Barr you better believe all ten amendments in the Bill of Rights because Bob doesn’t pick and chose. He supports the 2nd Amendment but he is as committed in his support for the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment as any ACLU lefty lawyer. Bob takes no prisoners when it comes to the defense of the Constitution.

    But that said, he quit the House over ten years ago and it is over – been there, done that. Sure there is no love lost for John McCain but Bob ran to become the national Libertarian candidate for President before John McCain ever became the nominee. Bob left the Republican party and made his bed. I hope he will run as a Libertarian and remain true to the convictions he professed when he accepted the nomination of the Libertarian party. He may still win and it would be the right thing to do.

  12. Romegaguy says:

    Chip cant gamble on not having a 6 figure income to help pay for that court settlement for his meth hotel.

  13. northside101 says:

    A complicated race to look at geographically. On paper, it would seem that a Cobb candidate ought to be a sure bet—Cobb makes up 49 percent of the district’s population, while Cherokee had 31 percent, Bartow 14 percent and Fulton a mere 6 percent.

    And yet…

    Cobb does not dominate as heavily in a Republican primary (in other words, Cobb’s percentage of the Republican primary vote is not the same as its population). That is probably because the Cobb portion is a bit less Republican after 2011 redistricting, as it picked up some Democratic precincts in Marietta, Smyrna and Vinings (yes, even Vinings has some Democratic precincts). Last November, the Cobb portion of CD 11 was 24 percent black in voter registation, 2 percent Asian and 3 percent Hispanic. Thus, the Republican epicenter of CD 11 is likely to continue shifting north into Bartow and Cherokee, where there is more space for development than almost built-out Cobb. Last November, Romney was held to under 60 percent in Gingrey’s part of Cobb (57 percent), while unsurprisingly Romney took nearly 80 (78 percent) in Cherokee.

    It isn’t widely known, but in last summer’s primary, in which Gingrey had token opposition, Cherokee cast more votes in that CD 11 primary (36,863) than did Cobb (36,283). Cherokee in that contest accounted for 39.4% of the total primary vote in CD 11—even while (in 2010 census) only accounting for 31% of the district’s total population. In fact, Bartow and Cherokee combined accounted for nearly 55 percent of the district’s total primary votes. (Of course, the Cherokee turnout may have been inflated by several primary contests in the area, such as Chip Rogers in his Senate primary and Charlice Byrd/Sean Jerguson in their respective ones).

    In last March’s GOP presidential primary,the Cobb portion of CD 11 outvoted Cherokee, but Cobb still accounted for a disproportionately low 44.4% of the district’s total vote, while Cherokee’s was disporportionately high at 36.4% (Bartow had 12%, Fulton 7.1% of the district’s total primary voting).

    We also can look back to the 2004 6th District runoff between Robert Lamutt and Tom Price (at that time, the 6th CD included northwest and east Cobb, southeast Cherokee and most of north Fulton). Conventional wisdom had Price the “goner” in the runoff, because the Cobb portion was so much larger than the Fulton portion. In fact, Cobb acocunted for 61% of the total runoff vote in that runoff,w ith Fulton only 33% and Cherokee 6%. Yet Price still beat Lamutt, 54-46% (Price was much stronger in Fulton—79%—than Lamutt was in Cobb—59%). And don’t forget Brandon Beach’s win in SD 21 (old seat of Chip Rogers), even though vast majority of that Cherokee/Fulton district is in Cherokee.

    Thus, the overall point is that it is far from certain that a Cobb candidate would win this primary.

    Though this is without question a Republican district (67% Romney last fall), there is ideological diversity among GOP primary voters. Overall, in last March’s GOP pres primary, Gingrich got 47% in the district, while Romney got 29, Santorum 17 and Ron Paul 7. Gingrich unsurprisingly won handily in the Bartow/Cherokee portions, the more “Bible-Belt” sections of the district, winning majorities in both counties. Gingrich led Romney by a closer 44-30% margin in the Cobb portion, while Romney easily won the Fulton portion 61-26% over Gingrich (with Romney winning all 14 precincts on the Fulton side of the district). The Fulton part of CD 11 includes portions of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, where even if you made $100,000 a year, you’d be hard pressed to afford a single-fmaily home in many neighborhoods in Fulton-11. The Fulton part of CD 11 is anything but Bible Belt—large Catholic and Jewish population, mainline Protestant like Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal—quite a contrast to Bartow and Cherokee.

    Hunter Hill’s Senate district has a lot of overlap with CD 11, but question would be whether he’d want to give that up after only one term, and especially since that seat is key to a continued GOP “supermajority” (two-thirds) in that chamber. (All 18 Democratic senators are in solidly Democratic districts, almost all of then 60%+ for Obam last fall.) His Senate Dist 6 is the only GOP-held Senate district that Romney won by less than 10 percentage points last year (Romney won SD 6 by a 53%-46% margin over Obama). On the flip side, GOP probably would be favored to hold an open SD 6 in a midterm cycle—the district (under its current lines) voted Republican in all the statewide partisan contests in 2010—even Cobb native Roy Barnes only got 42% in SD 6 in his unsuccessful 2010 re-eelction campaign.

    As for Barr, there is limited overlap between his old 11th CD (1995-2003) and the current one. The only overlaps are in Bartow and portions of Marietta/Smyrna in Cobb—Barr never represented northwest Cobb for instance. But some think he can raise lots of money from his earlier stint in Congress. I think also he will be 65 this year, but yougn compared to Gingrey, who turns 72 sometime this year.

  14. Bull Moose says:

    Honestly, that’s a rather sad list of possible candidates. It’s a lot of career politicians, wannabes, and has beens. I really feel for the people in that district if those are the only options they have on the ballot. However, there are two that stuck out to me and one that should be included that isn’t.

    I guess I’d say that Doug MacGinnitie would probably be a good candidate. It’s been a while since I’ve talked with him, but he was a very nice and genuine person on the campaign trail back in 2010.

    I don’t know Ed Lindsey well, so he gets a pass on that.

    But what about Sam Teasley? He might be a bit more conservative than most, but he’s got heart and soul and genuinely serving for the right reasons. I think we could use a few more folks like that and a lot less of the others…

  15. northside101 says:

    On paper, a Cobb candidate would seem to be favored in CD 11—based on 2010 census data, Cobb accounts for 49% of the population of the current 11th CD,w ith Cherokee only 31%, Bartow 14% and Fulton 6%. And yet…little known is that in last summer’s CD 11 primary (in which Gingrey had token opposition), Cherokee outvoted the Cobb portion of CD 11, 36,863 votes to Cobb’s 36,283 votes. Cherokee in that contest accounted for 39.4% of the total CD 11 primary votes, with Cobb slgihtly behind at 38.8% and Bartow and Fulton way back at 15.1% and 6.7% respectively. Cobb did outvote Cherokee in the 2012 presidential primary in the CD 11 area, but even then, Cobb’s turnout was disproprotionately low compared to its population—again, Cobb has 49% of the distirct’s population, but accounted for 44% of the district’s total turnout in the GOP presidential primary within CD 11 borders.

    The Cobb portion got less Republican in redistricting as Gingrey picked up some Democratic precincts in Marietta, Smyrna, and, yes, Vinings (there are some apartment-heavy Democratic precincts in Vinings). The Cobb portion of CD 11 is almost 25% black in voter registation. No wonder that Gingrey last Novembe ran much worse in Cobb (a shade under 60%) than Cherokee (79%). Point here is a large minority of the population in Cobb-11 is Democratic (roughly 40% base), so the Cobb portion of 11 is not as inclined to show up as Cherokee on a proportional basis.

    Also worth noting is that Bartow/Cherokee combined accounted for nearly 55% of the total primary votes in CD 11 last summer. Those really are the growth areas in CD 11, as the Fulton part is basically built out and the Cobb part is approaching that as well. Thus, GOP epicenter of district likely to keep shifting north. Doesn’t mean a Cobb candidate won’t win, but basically that is not a guarantee.

    But whatever happens in GOP primary, no chance a Democrat wins this district. CD 11 is only 15% black in voter registation and voted 67% for Romney and 69% for Gingrey last fall. In 2010, CD 11 under current lines gave Isakson 73%, Deal 65 and Cagle 69%.

  16. JayJacket says:

    You can try to spin the numbers but at the end of the day CD11 is a Cobb-centric district and a Cobb candidate would be favored not just on paper but also in reality. Not to suggest that a Bartow/Cherokee/Fulton person wouldn’t make a strong candidate but they face an uphill battle: the first two don’t have the fundraising potential that would allow them to spend on the more expensive part of the district (Cobb) and the last one has a very different culture than the rest of the district. Not saying these are absolute bars but the path to victory would be easiest for a strong Cobb candidate.

    With regard to your turnout numbers for the 2012 primary, you’re not taking into account there were hotly contested races in Cherokee and Bartow Counties. Garrison/Waters and Rogers/Beach in particular drove Cherokee turnout and the Bartow Commissioner race had the same effect, whereas there weren’t any interesting races in the Cobb portion of CD11. Even taking that into account, Cherokee only outvoted Cobb by 400 votes. With contested Senate, contested House, and potentially contested gubernatorial races on the ballot in 2014, turnout is going to be extremely high and that means the vast plurality (is this a thing?) of votes will come from Cobb.

  17. northside101 says:

    Jay Jacket makes a valid point about hotly contested Cherokee races–but there were also hotly contested races in Cobb (as Judy Manning found out unexpectedly in her loss to Chalres Gregory in House District 34, and Tim Lee in his close re-election as commission chairman). Furthermore, voters don’t always vote based on geography. In 2004, in the old 6th Cong. District (then consisting of northwest and east Cobb, southeast Cobb and most of north Fulton), many wrote off Tom Price’s chances beacuse he was the “Fulton” candidate. Fulton in that runoff only provided one-third of the district’s total votes—yet the Cobb candidate, Robert Lamutt, still lost to Price, even though Cobb accounted for 62 percent of the votes cast in that primary. More recently, Brandon Beach won Chip Rogers’ old Senate Dist 21 even though that is by far a Cherokee-heavy district. (Last fall, there were 74,048 active registered voters in the Cherokee portion of that district and only 33,238 on the Fulton side). Recall also when Tom Graves defeated Lee Hawkins in the old CD 9 (when Nathan Deal resigned to run for governor)—lot more people in Hall County (where Hawkins was from) than Graves’ home area of Gordon County.

    Certainly Cobb is the major driver in this contest—but not the only driver—and my point is that Cobb will be a less important component of the voting in a GOP primary in CD 11 as time goes on. And change is not just happening in south Cobb, the area mostly represented by Congressman David Scott. Obama for instance carried one of Acworth’s 3 precincts, one of gun-loving Kennesaw’s 7 precincts and even broke 40% in 4 of the 7 Kennesaw precincts. That won’t have any short-term impact on the GOP’s hold of CD 11, but again the GOP epicneter will continue to shift into Bartow and Cherokee. It is not a matter of “spin” (I don’t live in CD 11 and thus have no “bone” in that battle.)

    James Fannin makes interesting point about Hunter Hill possibley running. Hunter does have a lot of overlap with CD 11 in Buckhead/Sanyd Springs and Smyrna and Vinings–question is whether he would be ready to run so soon with young familyat home. Also, his win over Doug Stoner gave the GOP their supermajority in the Senate (38 out of 56 seats in that chamber). Lose that seat next year, and the supermajority is gone (all 18 Democratic senators represent solidly Democratic districts—all 18 easily won by Obama last year). On the other hand, GOP probably would be favored to hold Hill’s seat next time, given there would be no Democratic incumbent and in a midterm election, the Democratic intensity in the district would not be as great as in a presidential year. Furthermore, SD 6, under its current lines, voted Republican in every statewide contest in 2010—even Cobb native Roy Barnes only got 42% in the current SD 6 against Nathan Deal.

  18. After watching the free-for-all Governor’s race in California many years ago, I have been curious of what would happen if we had 20 people or so run for one office. I got a small taste in 2014 with the GA Governor’s race.

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