First Hat in the Ring: Rep. Broun Announces Senate Run

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After a firestorm of speculation on candidates to fill Senator Saxby Chambliss’ (GA-R) seat, U.S. Congressman Paul Broun’s wife officially announced her husband’s candidacy last week. During a CHARGE (Citizens Helping America Restore Government) meeting in Gwinnet County last Tuesday, Niki Broun made the announcement her husband will run for the open senate seat soon to be left vacant by Chambliss. According to Andrew O’Shea’s Viral Read article of the event, though, the announcement apparently stole Karen Handel’s thunder, another potential candidate for the seat. Handel was the keynote speaker at the event and did not announce, but O’Shea reports Handel kept herself open for a later announcement. FYN has also learned that Rep. Broun himself announced his senate run during a breakfast last week.

At this point, Broun is unique. He is the first to emerge with any certainty in the wake of the Chambliss announcement. Other names in the mix, in addition to Handel, are Reps Phil Gingrey (R-11), Jack Kingston (R-1), and Tom Price (R-6). Like Gingery and Price, Broun’s medical background gives him special clout to attack Obamacare, a key issue for Georgians, many of whom oppose the law. Further, Broun’s health care reform plan seems to give him a sharp edge. According to the congressman’s website, the plan is only 51 pages (opposed to Obamacare’s 2,000 plus) and has six major tenets: 1) Fully repeal Obamacare 2) Allow a 100 percent deduction of healthcare expenses, including insurance. 3) Increase contribution limits and add patient-friendly reforms to healthcare savings accounts 4) Move Medicare to a more flexible premium assistance program 5) Allows the sale of health insurance across state lines 6) Make it easier for groups to create associates’ health plans, allowing groups to negotiate (without federal interference) for lower costs.

Despite the two seemingly official announcements, Broun has yet to issue an official press release.

The other recurring name for the spot is U.S. Congressman Tom Price (GA-6). Doubtless Price would be formidable competition for Broun. Why? For one, Price is also a physician. But, Price also has his name on several healthcare legislations. Additionally, Price has been an outspoken adversary of Obamacare. In a July 26, 2012 op-ed piece which he co-authored with Phil Roe, Price said the law impedes a physician’s ability to treat patients, decreases medical innovation, and limits healthcare care choices.

“Last week,”

he continues,

“we voted to fully repeal the president’s health care law. The 112th Congress has voted to defund, dismantle or repeal some or all of President Obama’s health care overhaul more than 30 times, and we will not rest until it is no longer the law of the land.”

In a conversation with FYN this morning, Gilmer County Political Voice Joe McCutchen said that although he has already endorsed Price he believes Broun is a champion to the taxpayer. But, Radio Personality and Former Congressional Candidate Martha Zoller says it’s too early place your bets.

“It’s too soon to say what anyone’s chances are,”

Zoller commented,

“but the person that can show they can raise the money needed for a statewide race will be the frontrunner. Paul can expect to have his past statements dissected, even by his own party.”

She added that the race seems to be shaping up to be Broun, Price and Kingston, from the Congressional delegation.

“But, for now,”

she said,

“it’s anybody’s guess.”

McCutchen, though, was more certain, saying he feels Price could win if he enters. McCutchen said Price could make an announcement either way within the next ten days. So far, though, Price’s office has been silent on any decision.

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