Georgia: Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R) retirement has opened up a seat that should be won by Republicans. And like flies to honey, there are already five GOP candidates in the field. Ex-Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R) are the establishment’s candidates, while socially conservative Reps. Phil Gingrey (R) and Paul Broun (R) are also seeking a promotion to the upper chamber. (Kingston is an ally of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, while Handel narrowly lost to Deal in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.) Businessman David Perdue (R), cousin of ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), is also in the race. While Gingrey has a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth, he has nothing on Broun, who has a long history of making controversial statements. The Democratic nominee will probably be non-profit executive Michelle Nunn, daughter of ex-Sen. Sam Nunn (D), unless some bigger names unexpectedly get into the race. Georgia’s other senator, Johnny Isakson (R), recently expressed fear that “a perfect storm” of factors could shift a relatively safe Republican seat into Democratic hands. A no-holds-barred, five-way GOP primary — which will likely go to a runoff — could result in the nomination of someone like Broun or Gingrey, which could put this seat in play. But it’s possible that determining the nomination by convention, which Georgia Republicans recently decided against, could have been even more unpredictable — just ask Republicans in Virginia. Barring Broun or Gingrey winning the GOP nomination, this race is LIKELY REPUBLICAN. But if either winds up being the Republican standard bearer, watch out. If Democrats are going to pick up any Republican-held Senate seat in 2014, this would probably be the one.
For what it’s worth, I think folks are overplaying the whole “Gingrey and Broun are unelectable” meme. Every smart person in America has been saying it (some saying it are smarter than others). It’s been said so much that it makes you wonder if they’re part of a conspiracy to try and bait GOP voters into nominating one of these two or if they simply have no original thoughts on the matter. To be sure Gingrey and Broun have made controversial statements but can’t people come up with a new observation?