The Broun Effect, Continued

I’ve been treating the upcoming Senate Republican primary in my home state of Georgia as something of a controlled experiment measuring the rightward pressure on Republicans generally. So it interests me that the presumed “moderate” in the race, Rep. Jack Kingston, has formally announced his candidacy by warning he’s up to the nobody-gets-to-my-right competition, per this report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein:

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston has a message for his conservative challengers for an open Senate seat: He won’t be outflanked on the right.

In announcing Wednesday that he’s joining the race for retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat, the Savannah Republican told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s a workhorse who “will yield no ground to any of my opponents as to who is the most conservative.”

That’s saying a lot when his opponents are the conventionally wacky Phil Gingrey and Tom Price (who lest we forget came close to becoming the Tea Party-backed challenger to Speaker Boehner a few months ago) and then the wingnuttiest of them all, Paul Broun, who is clearly driving the pace car in the race to the Right.

Now to be fair, Kingston did allow as how he’s been willing to “work with the other party and do that without selling out our philosophy.” As a long-time member of the Appropriations Committee, he has to say that, or otherwise squarely take the blame for the insane domestic spending increases conservative stalwarts associate with the Bush administration as much as its successor.

I personally think Kingston is on a fool’s errand, though he might stand a chance of squeaking through a divided primary field on the basis of being the only candidate from south of Atlanta, and then maybe beating someone like Broun in a runoff if the zany extremist goes around the bend and starts calling for armed revolution against the evil secular-socialists who control both parties in Congress. But it will be both entertaining and instructive to watch the whole show.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.