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July 23, 2014 10:00 AM Replacing Georgia’s House Wingnuts

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday I suggested we might see a “con-con trifecta” in Georgia Republican House runoffs yesterday, with my main doubt being the viability of “Dr. Bob” Johnson in a relatively high turnout GA-01 contest.

Well, my instincts were sound. In GA-10, Baptist preacher/radio talk host Jody Hice, a true wild man, will in every respect succeed Paul Broun, having beaten trucking company owner Mike Collins by a comfortable margin. Lest you think of Hice as a rural prophet coming down from the hills like something out of Flannery O’Connor, his best counties were in the Atlanta exurbs. In GA-11, state senator Barry Loudermilk, who sometimes seems a calmer version of Broun, absolutely trounced Bob Barr, who represented much of the same area in the House for eight years.

But “Dr. Bob, the Christian Conservative” (as Johnson called himself) couldn’t get the win in GA-01, losing the district’s dominant county, Chatham, by a big and fatal margin to state senator Buddy Carter, who’s from Pooler right outside Savannah. Since Kingston didn’t become much of a Fighting Conservative until he set his sights on a Senate seat, I’d say all around the Georgia House delegation will stay about the same.

One thing will change, though: Broun and Gingrey were both physicians, part of a Georgia tradition of right-wing docs that goes at least back to John Birch Society leader Larry McDonald, who represented more or less what is today’s 11th district before he died in the Korean airliner shot down by the Soviet military in 1983 (for those of you too young to remember that incident, it was right out of John Birch Society central casting). Yes, there’s still Rep. Tom Price, but having Dr. Bob in the House would have provided a buffer. Buddy Carter is a pharmacist, which is close, I guess.

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.

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