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 Lewis – 11th 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).