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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Possible 2014 Primary Challengers To U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss

By Susan Duclos

As Senator Saxy Chambliss moves to the left on flashpoint issues, such as taxes and immigration, and publicly suggests he would be willing to break his promises to his constituents, the timing of reports showing that there are a number of names being considered to issue a primary challenge to Chambliss is his bid for reelection for 2014, is fortuitous.

From November 21, 2012, Weekly Standard:

Activists and donors alike are expressing dissatisfaction with Chambliss for his perceived move to the left on issues like immigration and taxes. And members of Georgia’s House delegation, as reported by Roll Call, like Tom Price, Paul Broun, and Tom Graves, may be considering running against Chambliss in the primary. But GOP and conservative sources say there’s another possible candidate: former secretary of state Karen Handel.

“She’s considering it,” says Rob Simms, a Republican campaign consultant who worked on Handel’s unsuccessful run for governor in 2010. Kay Godwin, the co-chairman of Georgia Conservatives in Action, says Handel is among those she’s hearing who could successfully challenge Chambliss.

Yesterday word came out that Handel is considering a run against Chambliss:

Friends of former secretary of state Karen Handel tell us that Rob Simms, once her chief of staff – now a D.C. media consultant, wasn’t blowing smoke when he said Handel was considering a 2014 challenge to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

She is.

United Liberty makes the case against a Chambliss reelection:

In the last couple of cycles, fiscal conservatives and Tea Party groups have gone after establishment Republicans who have voted for big government spending. The case against Chambliss from fiscal perspective is not too different from many other Republicans who have fallen in primary challenges.
On the Club for Growth’s most recent report card, Chambliss scored a 76%, putting him in the lower-third of Senate Republicans. He also has a lifetime score of 75% from FreedomWorks.

Chambliss displayed his contempt for fiscal conservatism during his first year in the Senate by voting for Medicare Part D, adding trillions to the unfunded liabilities to the already fiscally troubling entitlement program. Chambliss wouldn’t have been enough to swing the vote either way, but he could have gone on record against entitlements. Chambliss voted for every one of George W. Bush’s bloated budgets.

Chambliss voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, also known as TARP. He has had a mixed record on trade, largely because he always votes for farm subsidies. In fact, not only has Chambliss voted for three farm bills during his time in Congress, he led the charge to override Bush’s veto of the bloated bill back in 2008.

The farm bill is stuffed with pork and subsidies that only cost Americans more money, not only through tax dollars, but at the grocery store. It stifles competition as Congress picks the winners and losers. When President Barack Obama proposed cuts to the farm bill in 2009, Chambliss opposed them.

Chambliss did vote against this year’s version of the farm bill, not because it was bad fiscal policy, but because it “[didn’t] treat southern crops fairly.” Chambliss also fought for more pork in his current term. When the Congress was pushing through the omnibus spending bill back in 2009, Chambliss requested wasteful spending for his home state. Chambliss also sought wasteful stimulus funds, despite voting against the bill. He also sought $3 billion for the F-22, which is built in Marietta, Georgia, even though the Department of Defense has said they don’t need the fighter jets.
While he has been complaining of the fiscal crisis, Chambliss is, of course, complicit in its creation. His actions will lead to massive tax increases for Georgians down the road as entitlement spending will consume the budget in the next 25 years. This and debt service alone will eclipse the current level of spending as a percentage of GDP.

Until recently, Chambliss seemed to believe that the only things that defined fiscal conservatism is tax cuts. Unfortunately, even that has changed over the last few years.

During the debt ceiling debate last year, Chambliss joined with five other Senators, three of which were Democrats, to propose a broad deficit reduction plan, including $1 trillion in tax hikes, which earned praise from President Obama. That plan failed in over the sequestration plan that ultimately passed Congress. Chambliss voted against sequestration and has continued to speak against it because he doesn’t like the cuts that will be made to defense. According to Chambliss, defense can’t be cut to help bring the budget back to a sustainable level, but taxes can and should be raised.

Now Chambliss is taking aim at the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, of which he is a signer. When asked by a local television statement about the potential for a primary challenge if he voted to break his pledge, Chambliss said, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” But Grover Norquist noted in response that the pledge isn’t to him or Americans to Tax Reform, but rather a pledge to his constituents and taxpayers in Georgia.

The fight over the budget in Washington is about scaling back government. Unfortunately, Chambliss has been part of the problem during his two terms in the Senate. He has been part of the political class that has spent too much and now wants to take his fiscal irresponsibility out on taxpayers. It’s time for Chambliss and others like him to go. Here’s hoping an electable fiscal conservative steps up to the plate in Georgia.

Peach Pundit shows the advantages for a Handel run against Chambliss:

A Handel entry makes the calculus of a primary challenge a bit more intriguing.  Both Price and Broun come from different flavors of the same D.C. based wing of Georgia Republicans.  While their geographic and idealistic base differ dramatically, their fundraising bases do not.  Contributors to Price or Broun would be having to make a choice.  Right now, all three men largely share the same donor base.

Handel, on the other hand, has run statewide just two years ago, losing a primary by roughly 2,500 votes.  That’s two years more recently than Chambliss who needed a runoff in 2008 to return to D.C., and an advantage over Price and Broun who haven’t yet run a statewide race.

Furthermore, her support – presuming it has remained intact from 2010 – is decidedly anti-establishment.  During her gubernatorial race only Congressman Tom Price supporter Handel over Governor Deal and the number of State House & Senate members who openly supported her candidacy can be counted on one hand.  Yet despite the uphill climb, she still came within less than 1% of a primary victory.

Ali Akbar provides a list of others that are actively targeting Chambliss  since he stopped representing those he was elected to represent and has no problem breaking his promises to them:

Here’s the pledge Saxby made to the people of Georgia through ATR:
I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
You know, the pledge he slapped on the front door of his campaign office after making a super-sized copy of it as’s Erick Erickson points out on Twitter.

This isn’t sitting too well with other leaders in the conservative movement either.
Georgian Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express, has pledged to participate in an effort primary the Senator as well. Other key grassroots figures like Jenny Beth Martin and Debbie Dooley of Tea Party Patriots will play a critical role in determining what the grassroots in the state do. Georgia Conservatives in Action, a network of key activists from across the state lead by Co-Chairs Pat Tippett and Kay Godwin have heard from their supporters that they’d like to see an organized challenge to Saxby in the primary.

Welcome to the 2014 campaign season.  Not only do conservatives need to actively build a coalition to take control of the Senate, they must also remove RINOS and replace them with Senators and Representatives that will keep their promises and preserve the principles that supporters elect them to protect.


Saxby Chambliss’s Fuzzy Math