Category: 2016 Elections

Can the House Freedom Caucus save the GOP?

Two freshman Georgia congressmen have learned in a hurry that fiery political rhetoric might get you elected, but it doesn’t get you very far in the messy world of governing.

This week’s AJC highlighted the heat that Barry Loundermilk and Jody Hice — who represent two of Georgia’s most conservative, solidly GOP districts — faced from voters when they returned home during a congressional break. Their constituents were outraged, among other things, over both men’s support of House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP majority’s capitulation on President Obama’s executive immigration orders on the Department of Homeland Security’s funding bill.

The Republican tidal wave of 2014 hasn’t produced much in the way of results, and as Peach Pundit’s Jon Richards points out, Hice’s predecessor, Paul Broun, is rumored to be considering a run to get his old job back.

Now, both Hice and Loudermilk have joined the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), a group that has been formed to pull Republican leadership to the right.

The HFC is already causing some GOP insiders to develop a good case of heartburn. One senior GOP aide tells Roll Call that its members are “not legislators, they’re just assholes” and nothing more than a collection of “the craziest of the crazy.”

But the HFC now numbers about 30 representatives, and Ohio congressman Jim Jordan is reported to be in line to become the HFC’s first chairman. One HFC member says he’d support Jordan for speaker.

The HFC has obviously been formed in direct opposition to Boehner and other GOP insiders who are seen either as being too cozy with Democrats or too intimidated by President Obama to stop his policies.

In 2014, voters overwhelmingly elected Republicans to move Capitol Hill to the right. The question is, will the HFC pull the party in the direction that voters elected them to go? If not, Republicans may continue to be seen as appeasing the White House, which will have its own ramifications in 2016.

Will an SEC Primary Take Away the Power of Blue State Republicans?

This morning, Nate Cohn of the New York Times Upshot tries to answer the question asked by many Tea Party leaning Republicans in southern states: Why does it seem that the GOP presidential candidate always ends up being a moderate, rather than a ‘true conservative?’ And, he finds some interesting data about the power of the GOP in the states won by President Obama:

But the blue-state Republicans still possess the delegates, voters and resources to decide the nomination. In 2012, there were more Romney voters in California than in Texas, and in Chicago’s Cook County than in West Virginia. Mr. Romney won three times as many voters in overwhelmingly Democratic New York City than in Republican-leaning Alaska.

Overall, 59 percent of Romney voters in the Republican primaries lived in the states carried by President Obama. Those states hold 50 percent of the delegates to the Republican National Convention, even though they contain just 19 percent of Republican senators. Just 11 percent of House Republicans hail from districts that voted for President Obama.

The article, which is well worth reading in its entirety, talks about the difficulties a conservative such as Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee would have trying to win the presidential nomination, especially because Republican voters in states represented by and large by Democrats tend to be more moderate than those from the south.

It concludes by bringing up Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s effort to organize an SEC Primary, which would let the states with SEC schools, along with some others, vote on March 1st, 2016–the first date states other than the traditional four early primary states can have a primary election. The goal is to give the redder GOP states a bigger voice in selecting the party’s nominee.

In a Sunday AJC story by Greg Bluestein and Kristina Torres, Kemp says he’s aiming to have Georgia influence the choice of nominee.

“We’re on the national map, and that’s really what we wanted,” said Kemp, who next week will update his colleagues and brainstorm on how to move ahead with the plan while attending a national conference in Washington. “We wanted the candidates to know this was going to happen: The SEC primary is going to be a happening event. And our voters here will be able to participate in that process.”

Already, supporters say they are seeing ripple effects. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential GOP candidate who won Georgia’s 2008 primary, visited Georgia last week to meet with voters. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another potential contender, met with Republican-leaning business leaders and donors last week in Atlanta. And state Republican officials expect a slew of presidential candidates at the party’s May convention in Athens.

Would an SEC primary succeed in nominating a more conservative candidate for president? Perhaps, but as the AJC story points out, that will depend on whether voters in the SEC Primary unify around a single candidate, or whether they split their votes among several candidates.

Republican National Committee Sets Debate Schedule

It’s time once again to see which candidates pound their chest the hardest trying to out-conservative each other lay out why they have the chops to win in the ’16 presidential contest against a presumed Hillary Clinton (of course, remember the last time we presumed Hillary was getting the nomination…).

Last week, the Republican National Committee released the GOP Presidential Debate schedule. A total of 9 (!!) debates have been confirmed with 3 pending for a total of up to 12 (!!!) debates among GOP contenders:


  1. Fox News – August 2015 in Ohio
  2. CNN – September 2015 in California
  3. CNBC – October 2015 in Colorado
  4. Fox Business – November 2015 in Wisconsin
  5. CNN – December 2015 in Nevada
  6. Fox News – January 2016 in Iowa
  7. ABC News – February 2016 in New Hampshire
  8. CBS News – February 2016 in South Carolina
  9. NBC/Telemundo – February 2016 in Florida


  • Fox News – March 2016 (Location TBD)
  • CNN – March 2016 (Location TBD)
  • Conservative Media Debate (Date and Location TBD)

Among some of the talked about contenders include, but obviously not limited to, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), former MA Gov. and ’12 nominee Mitt Romney, former FL Gov. Jeb Bush, WI Gov. Scott Walker, LA Gov. Bobby Jindal, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, former TX Gov. Rick Perry, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), former AK Gov. Sarah Palin, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI-01), and Dr. Ben Carson.

No debate drinking games have been published for 2016 (yet), so make some suggestions in the comments.

Johnny Isakson Announces Re-Election Bid

Senator Johnny Isakson announces his intention to seek a third term at the State Capitol in Atlanta as Governor Nathan Deal and other look on,  Photo:  Jon Richards
At the State Capitol in Atlanta, Senator Johnny Isakson announces his intention to seek a third term
as Governor Nathan Deal and others look on. Photo: Jon Richards

Senator Johnny Isakson made official today what has been known by most politically connected Georgians for months: he is running for a third term in the U.S. Senate. Isakson made the announcement in front of several hundred people at a ceremony today at the Gold Dome.

“I made the decision sometime back, along with my wife Dianne and my family, that the good Lord willing and Georgians supporting that I would run again for the United States Senate,” said Isakson during today’s announcement.

“There are two principle reasons that I made that decision: I did not want to become a ‘lame duck’ senator in the United States Senate for two years,” Isakson continued. “I want to work every day, shoulder-to-shoulder, with this governor and this legislature to move Georgia forward.”

“Reason number two, I learned everything I know about legislating on the third floor of both sides of this building. I was in the state Senate and in the state House. I learned the legislative process under a Constitution that requires a balanced budget, that doesn’t allow you to deficit-spend, under a Constitution that works like the federal government ought to work, but doesn’t.”

“And I want to try and continue to do what I’ve done for 16 years in Washington, and that’s bring Georgia values and Georgia conservatism to the capital of the United States of America in Washington. They need that really bad!”

In addition to Governor Deal, who introduced Isakson to the crowd, dignitaries present included Congressmen Jack Kingston, Doug Collins, Phil Gingrey and Tom Graves. Also present were Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and Agriculture Secretary Gary Black. Speaker of the House David Ralston and Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, and quite a few state senators and representatives were also in attendance.

The very visible presence of Congressman Graves was notable, given that there had been rumors he was being recruited by Tea Party groups to mount a primary challenge against Isakson.

Isakson Campaign Schedules Kickoff Event

If you’ve been paying attention to Republican politics throughout the pre-election campaigning, you likely will have noticed the presence of Senator Johnny Isakson at many events, supporting Governor Deal and David Perdue. Georgia’s soon-to-be-senior Senator started hinting to insiders more than six months ago that he was planning to run for re-election in 2016.

For those who might be awaiting an engraved invitation, it has now arrived. Well, in this era of email, perhaps not engraved, but it is an invitation:

Please join
Johnny Isakson
at the ‎kickoff announcement for his
2016 Re-election Campaign for U.S. Senate
Monday, November 17, 2014
11:00 a.m.

The Georgia State Capitol
North Wing
206 Washington Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Please R.S.V.P. by emailing [email protected]

Questions: Please call our campaign office at 770-818-1493
or email [email protected]

There have been rumors flying around certain GOP circles that Isakson would not run again in 2016. This announcement, and the presence of statewide officials, members of the state House and Senate, and campaign supporters should put an end to them.