Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
I spent most of Friday in disbelief.
The House was supposed to be considering the Cyber Intelligence Safety and Protection Act, otherwise known as CISPA, on Friday. Thursday I caught some rumors that it was being moved up a day, and when I got online Friday morning, I found that they had indeed voted on it, and it passed 248-168.
My disbelief wasn’t that it passed but rather that my Congressman, Tom Graves, had voted in favor of it. He has a 5-way conservative test for considering legislation, and I’m still not sure how CISPA passed his test. I think CISPA has some obvious Constitutional problems, and when I saw Graves’ vote, I felt (for lack of a better word) betrayed.
That’s not to say that Graves is awful and needs to be thrown out. On the contrary, Tom really is a pretty good Congressman, and he’s usually on the right side of an issue even before I offer my input on legislation. For example, he opposed NDAA, and he was opposing SOPA before everybody else. Graves wasn’t the only usually-good Congressman to vote for this bill. Several others shocked me with a vote for CISPA as well.
While asking around and looking for reasons why these Congressmen went the wrong way on this bill, I was told multiple times that The Heritage Foundation was a major influence in CISPA’s passing. How unfortunate. While The Heritage Foundation typically does a good thing, apparently when it’s wrong, it’s really wrong.
Just a few moments ago, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 45, which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as “ObamaCare” — by a 229 to 195 vote. An earlier motion by House Democrats to recommit the legislation to committee failed, 190 to 230.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) described the vote to repeal as a “vote to stop the IRS,” a reference to the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups and the new authority it has been given under ObamaCare.”
“The chief enforcers of this law – the IRS – have been outed as partisan political operatives. They’ve harassed and bullied and suppressed the political opponents of the Obama Administration,” said Graves from the floor of the chamber. “Now they want to be in charge of our health care? Give me a break. I don’t think so.”
“Members, this is your chance. This is your chance to weigh in on the IRS scandal,” he added. “A vote to repeal is a vote to stop the IRS.”
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the Senate will take up the ObamaCare repeal measure, despite their recent string of serious concerns with the law, including worries about rising insurance premiums and poor implementation efforts by the administration. President Barack Obama has promised to veto any measure that repeals the increasingly costly law.
During the debate in the House of Representatives over cyber-security, the White House issued veto threat over CISPA due to Internet privacy concerns. Despite that strong stance on a controversial piece of legislation, there have been a number of news stories recently showing various government agencies willingness to ignore constitutional protections to gain access to e-mail and other forms of electronic communication and files.
In fact, it’s the official policy of President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that agents do not need a warrant when they want to gain access to e-mail and Facebook accounts:
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.
Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they’re not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.
As Republicans in the Peach State vie for position in the 2014 Senate race, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who is perhaps the most liberty-minded member of the delegation, released a statement this morning explaining that he will not run for the seat being left open by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
“The last several weeks have been a very exciting time for me and my family as we considered the opportunity to serve Georgia in the United States Senate. It has been an honor to receive so much support from Georgians and grassroots conservatives around the country, and I am confident that we would run a very competitive campaign,” explained Graves in a statement sent by his office. “My decision rested on what would be best for my family, my district and the state of Georgia, and I have concluded that the right path for now is to forgo this Senate race and continue serving in my current role.”
“After receiving so much encouragement to enter the race, I now know we are at the beginning of a long journey in Georgia state politics,” Graves said. “I look forward to taking on a greater leadership role in our congressional delegation as many of our senior members enter the primary, and it is important for my supporters to know that I intend to continue preparing for future opportunities to serve Georgia.”
Now that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014, Georgia is becoming a battleground for fight between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. Over at Georgia Tipsheet, James Richardson recently noted that Tea Party Patriots is considering involvement in the primary, which has led some Republicans to worry that the race “will descend into a conservative pissing match.”
To this point, however, only one candidate, Rep. Paul Broun, has announced. It’s is expected that Rep. Jack Kingston, a life-long appropriator and serial earmarker, will soon announce his campaign. And Rep. Tom Price, a generally solid fiscal conservative, is talking like a candidate and trying to contrast himself as a better communicator for conservative ideals.
Even though Republicans won’t head to the polls in the primary for than a year, there are new numbers out of the Peach State that show a close race. According to the survey conducted by Harper Polling, the race is a dead-heat among a handful of House members from Georgia:
With Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) deciding to retire, potential candidates on both sides of the aisle are weighing bids for the open seat, including former Secretary of State Karen Handel and Reps. Paul Broun and Tom Price. A couple of Georgia-based political consultants didn’t waste any time in measuring the strength of the likely crowded Republican field.
- Sonny Perdue: 22.4%
- Karen Handel: 15%
- Paul Broun: 10.3%
- Tom Price: 9.7%
- Lynn Westmoreland: 8.4%
- Tom Graves: 6.3%
- Brian Kemp: 3.4%
- Undecided: 24.5%
We got some good news out of Georgia this morning. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who suggested last year that he would break his no-tax pledge to Peach State voters, will not seek a third-term in office, according to Jim Galloway at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce this morning that he’s dropping plans to run for a third term in 2014, a decision certain to set off an avalanche of Republican candidates who will seek to replace him.
Word out of Washington is that Chambliss broke the news to his senior staff this morning.
Politico says that the reason Chambliss decided not to run for re-election is because he has “grown increasingly frustrated with the pervasive gridlock in the Senate — particularly its inability to reach a grand bargain to slash deficits.” Chambliss isn’t running again because he was facing a primary challenge because conservatives in Georgia are frustrated with his big government record.
Chambliss has been part of the problem in Washington. Chambliss voted for every bloated budget pushed during the Bush Administration. He voted to expand Medicare, an already bankrupt entitlement. What was his answer to the deficits he helped create? To raise taxes by $1 trillion. The suggestion that Chambliss is some sort of fiscal conservative is nothing short of absurd.
It’s only been a few weeks since Election Day, and already the 2014 election cycle is heating up. It doesn’t take long before the attention turns to the next election, and this year is no different. Here in Georgia, speculations are circling about who will challenge Saxby Chambliss.
My entry into the political world started in 2008 when Chambliss was running for reelection. I was (and still am) shocked and appalled that a professing conservative had the audacity to support the bank bailouts. I launched a web site at FireSaxby.com and quickly got national attention when the Associated Press interviewed me for an article about Chambliss’ race.
I’m excited about the coming election season. It’s a great opportunity for the conservative base in Georgia to reject liberal tendencies of Senator Chambliss. He really is one of the most despicable men in Washington. The good news is that there are some good possibilities for candidates to run against Saxby.
Herman Cain – I’m not a fan of Herman Cain at all, but he’s already got statewide recognition, which will be necessary to beat Saxby. On top of that, people generally like him. He’s not much of an upgrade over Chambliss though, given his past support of TARP and bailouts, but he’s not Saxby Chambliss, so that works in his favor.
Following Rep. Tom Price’s disappointing defeat in the race for chair of the House Republican Conference, an early indicator of how the GOP plans to work in the next Congress, conservatives looking to keep some measure of independence lost another leadership battle yesterday. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) selected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is viewed as an ally to Speaker John Boehner, over Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) to led the group of House conservatives:
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana is the new face of the conservative movement in the House of Representatives. At least according to the Republican Study Committee, a caucus representing the right wing of the party.
The RSC elected Scalise to be their new chairman Thursday, taking over from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Scalise beat Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia for the position, despite the fact that the committee’s founders and past chairmen came out in support of Graves.
“From the beginning I felt like this ought to be a member-driven organization and the members should decide who’s the next chairman,” Scalise told the Alley.
Scalise said that Graves ran a great campaign for the position and that the major differences between the two of them was not in policy but in leadership style.
“The American people chose the Republican House to serve as the only line of defense against Barack Obama’s liberal agenda, and the RSC must stand tall as the conservative rudder, steering the House towards more conservative solutions as we work to get our country back on the right track,” he said in a statement.