Savannah Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), as expected, yesterday announced that he is entering the crowded open seat Georgia Senate race in what will become a trying and hard-fought Republican primary and run-off campaign.
Republicans already running are representatives Paul Broun (R-GA-10) and Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11). In the exploratory phase is former Reebok and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, a cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue (R), while former secretary of state and ex-gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel is a possible candidate. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA-6), who was expected to announce a Senate run as soon as Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) announced his retirement, now appears less likely to do so.
For the Democrats, Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12) must now be rated as a probable contender for his party’s nomination. The congressman is attempting to secure a clear primary field so he can raise general election money throughout this year and next in unencumbered fashion, something he believes is critical for him to compete with the Republicans in the general election. Should he run, Barrow, a Blue Dog Coalition member, is the type of Democratic candidate who could run well statewide in Georgia. Such a development would mean the eventual winner of the Republican nomination dogfight would have no cakewalk in the general election.
Kingston, now serving his 11th term in the House, has to be considered on the long shot side for the nomination. Coming from the less populous southern part of the state — the vast majority of the Republican primary electorate resides north of Interstate 20 — the Savannah congressman will have to invest heavily in the expensive Atlanta media market to make himself known to his new constituency. According to his latest Federal Election Commission filing, Kingston possesses over $1.75 million in his federal campaign account meaning he begins his statewide quest from a financial position of relative strength.
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