Political Animal


August 22, 2012 9:20 AM Georgia Runoff: Righter Than You

By Ed Kilgore

Appearances can be deceiving. Even though the apparent winners in two GOP low turnout congressional runoffs in Georgia were the “establishment” candidates fighting perceived Tea Party Insurgents, the dynamics of the contests suggested as usual that there’s no percentage in moderation in today’s GOP.

In northeast Georgia’s 9th congressional district, a new and heavily Republican district, former radio talk show host Martha Zoller seemed to have the big-time right-wing mojo going into the runoff, with endorsements from the Susan B. Anthony List, the Tea Party Patriots, Sean Hannity, Erick Erickson, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, along with the coveted Mama Grizzly designation from you-know-who. But she lost narrowly to “establishment” Republican state legislator Doug Collins, who ran ads with clips from Zoller’s old shows raising suspicions that she had at one point been soft on abortion, homosexuality, and Loco Weed, and that seems to have made the difference.

In Eastern Georgia’s 12th congressional district, another state legislator, Lee Anderson, seems to have edged out contractor Rick Allen for the right to take on perpetually embattled Blue Dog Democrat John Barrow, though a recount could occur. National groups and personalities were not as prominent in this contest as in the 9th district, but Anderson, like Collins, voted for the dreaded Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to be placed on the July 31 ballot in Georgia, and had to run a barrage of factually questionable (and racially suggestive) ads alleging that Allen had contributed to Democrats in the past to win government contracts.

Barrow supporters might be cheered by an Anderson win given the Republican’s rather notable difficulties in articulating his views (pointed to by Erick Erickson in endorsing Allen), viz. this fine peroration on “fair” versus “flat” taxes at a public forum in May:

Sounds like a voice Georgia’s horribly underrepresented conservatives need in Washington.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on August 22, 2012 9:40 AM:

    Yes, but can he explain that while dueling on a banjo?

  • T-Rex on August 22, 2012 9:43 AM:

    So THAT'S what became of Basil Marceaux!

  • wheresthebeef on August 22, 2012 10:15 AM:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...Lincoln would have served the nation better by letting these treasonous clods go their own way when he had the chance. Sure, our foreign aid payments to Third World countries would be a little higher, and sure, we'd have a couple more tin-pot dictators we had to deal with, but does anyone seriously doubt that the remaining 39 States would have made for a much more pleasant place in which to live?

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  • jjdaddyo on August 22, 2012 3:40 PM:

    As a resident of GA12 and a Yellow Dog, not a Blue Dog Democrat, this whole thing is pretty dispiriting.
    Barrow voted against ACA for god's sake, and yet his Republican alternative, whoever that winds up being, will be a total nightmare.

  • CharlieM on August 22, 2012 4:59 PM:

    An apparent inability to articulate a coherent sentence or to even hold one is no barrier to office here in GA. Just look at the rest of the GA delegation. Buffoonery and ignorance seem to be the prime requisites. Just a look at the 6th/7th/10th/11th districts should be enough to disavow you from thinking you have to have anything more than the cognitive ability of a fence post to get elected.
    Anderson will knock off Barrow precisely because he's an inarticulate toadstool.

  • Th on August 23, 2012 12:12 PM:

    jjdaddyo, if John Barrow wants to keep his seat, he needs to capitalize on his vote against Obamacare by spending the next 2 1/2 months telling anyone who will listen that he voted against it because it cut Medicare and he will never, ever, ever vote to cut Medicare or SS benefits. Then he needs to pound his opponent with Ryan's Medicaid cuts by pointing out that while now Granny has to sell her house before Medicaid pays for the rest home, with Ryan's cuts, you will have to sell your house too or move her into your family room.

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