The race to fill the seat being vacated by two-term GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss has veered right of right, prompting fear in some Republicans that the party risks losing in the general election, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The five leading candidates – U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, and Phil Gingrey; former Dollar General Corp. Chief Executive David Perdue; and former Secretary of State Karen Handel – are campaigning on some radical principles.
Several are calling to eliminate federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education. Broun, who said he directly challenges "the constitutional legitimacy of today’s federal government," additionally would like to see the United States pull out of the United Nations and boot them from the country altogether.
In 2012, Broun, a doctor who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, characterized evolution and the Big Bang Theory as "lies straight from the pit of hell."
"As your congressman, I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that," Broun said during a sports banquet at a Hartwell, Ga. Baptist church, the Los Angeles Times
Broun’s spokeswoman later explained that "Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues."
National Republican strategist and fundraiser Eric Tanenblatt told the Journal that candidates need to be forward thinking, even when campaigning in a primary.
"The candidates need to be very careful about what they say and how they conduct themselves during this primary, because once the primary is over, you have a very different general electorate," he said.
While like-minded supporters agree with their candidates’ views, some Georgians say they are hesitant to cast their vote knowing it would be an uphill battle in the general election, according to the Journal.
"That's not the way to get elected," 62-year-old handyman Dean Rowan said at a recent campaign event.
Democrats are hoping Georgia’s rapidly changing demographic landscape will be to their party’s benefit. Census figures show that between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population nearly doubled, the Asian populated grew by more than 80 percent, and the black population increased by 26 percent, the Journal reports.
Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, will likely be the opponent in the general election. She has raised more money than each of her GOP challengers except Kingston, who has raised $4.2 million to Nunn’s $3.3 million.
The primary is May 20, with a likely runoff set for July between the two top vote-getters.
Chambliss announced in January that he wouldn’t seek a third term. He cited "legislative gridlock" and "partisan posturing" as influencing his decision.
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