Rep. Phil GingreyPhil GingreyBeating the drum on healthcare Former GOP chairman joins K Street Former Rep. Gingrey lands on K Street MORE (R-Ga.) is planning to run for the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R), senior GOP strategists in the state told The Hill.
"I've just talked to two people that told me Phil Gingrey is actually calling them telling them he's going to run and his staff is telling people he'll probably make his announcement sometime next week," said Tom Perdue, a top Georgia Republican strategist who is close to Chambliss. "He said it on a conference call with about 12 people."
Perdue added that "one of [Gingrey's] children on her Facebook or Twitter said her daddy is running."
Another top Georgia Republican, when asked if Gingrey would run, wrote in an email: "Yes. He's in."
According to Gingrey's office, however, the congressman hasn't yet made a final decision.
"In regard to Perdue's claims, they are simply untrue. The congressman is still testing the waters and doing his due diligence. Any reports of a time frame for some kind of announcement or of conference calls with random numbers of people are false," said spokeswoman Jen Talaber.
Other Georgia Republican congressmen are eying the seat as well, including Reps. Tom Price, Jack Kingston and Tom GravesTom GravesRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman House votes to keep lawmaker pay freeze in place Lobbying World MORE.
One of the Republican sources said both Kingston and Price have been interviewing consultants as they look at the race, and Price has been ramping up his fundraising as well, as The Hill previously reported.
Price is not expected to make a decision on the race until late spring. Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) are also said to be mulling bids.
Gingrey reportedly emailed some Republicans in the state Thursday to let them know he's running for the Senate. His office, however, denied the report.
"I spoke with Phil and he hasn't sent any email indicating a Senate run, so I'm not sure what all of this is about," Talaber said.
Perdue said in addition to the congressmen, Cagle and Handel, he'd talked to a number of state lawmakers, a few mayors and "three significant businessmen in Georgia" who'd told him they were considering the race.
"It's like the ocean," Perdue said of the large and unsettled GOP field for the seat. "Every time the tide rolls in something new gets brought up on the beach and something else gets rolled out."
- Updated at 8:30 p.m.