Rep. Paul BrounPaul Collins BrounHundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Joe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia California lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment MORE (R-Ga.) made it official Wednesday after dropping hints for several weeks that he'll run for retiring Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissFormer Georgia Sen. Max Cleland dies at 79 Effective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Live coverage: Georgia Senate runoffs MORE’s (R-Ga.) seat.
“I’ll be the only candidate in this race whose first priority is to stop the runaway spending in Washington D.C. I’ve sponsored more legislation to reduce spending than any other Member of Congress from this state,” Broun said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
“Georgians aren’t interested in labels or affiliation, they’re interested in solutions. And that begins by making Washington smaller and America bigger!”
Broun had been publicly discussing a possible bid for the race before Chambliss announced his retirement last month. Broun's wife last week told a group of GOP officials that he planned to run. He filed paperwork to run and announced his bid Wednesday afternoon.
Broun, a favorite of both Christian conservative activists and Tea Party Republicans, has courted controversy with provocative remarks several times in his congressional career. He recently said “the only Constitution that Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns US-China space cooperation is up in the air more than ever GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE upholds is the Soviet Constitution,” and drew national attention last fall when he said that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory were “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) has been ramping up his fundraising as he considers a bid, though he’s been tight-lipped about his interest. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) has also been making moves towards a run, as have Reps. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesGeorgia businesswoman launches primary challenge against Greene Lobbying world Greene's future on House committees in limbo after GOP meeting MORE and Phil GingreyJohn (Phil) Phillip GingreyEx-Tea Party lawmakers turn heads on K Street 2017's top health care stories, from ObamaCare to opioids Beating the drum on healthcare MORE (R-Ga.).
While Georgia leans Republican, especially in midterm elections, many Democrats are licking their chops at the idea of Broun as the GOP nominee.
But unlike in other races where a "grassroots conservative versus establishment Republican" dynamic has developed — creating the potential for nasty primary fights — many of Broun’s potential opponents also have very conservative voting records and are well-liked by the party's base.
The race will likely be expensive in the large state, and Broun starts off as a big underdog in fundraising as well: he has just $156,000 in the bank as of the end of the year, according to recently filed campaign finance reports.
Gingrey had the most cash on hand as of the end of the year, with $1.9 million in the bank, while Price had $1.6 million and has raised $250,000 in recent days, according to a fundraising email obtained by The Hill late last week.
Kingston had just under $1 million in the bank. Graves has $560,000.
Rep. John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowFormer lawmakers sign brief countering Trump's claims of executive privilege in Jan. 6 investigation Draft Georgia congressional lines target McBath, shore up Bourdeaux On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 MORE (D-Ga.) hasn’t ruled out a run, and would likely be Democrats’ best hope at the seat.