National Review: Can Paul Broun Win in 2014?

21
Mar

National Review: Can Paul Broun Win in 2014?

By Betsy Woodruff:

When Georgia political insiders talk about Paul Broun, one theme emerges again and again: Broun says what he thinks and thinks what he says.

It’s this outspokenness that might, against the odds, win him a GOP Senate nomination in Georgia next year. Republican senator Saxby Chambliss is retiring, and other Georgia Republicans are looking to run, but Broun’s quirkiness and candor may woo fellow conservatives.

Representative Broun doesn’t really have a filter. So why does he say stuff like that? “It’s because he believes it, he really does,” says a Georgia politico. “He’s just a strong believer.”

He’s also an opposition researcher’s dream come true. “They’re going to paint Broun as Satan incarnate, you know? Ron Paul’s No. 2 guy or something,” says another Peach State source. “I’ll put it this way,” the source adds. “If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on Broun.”

But Broun is optimistic. “The thing is, I’ve been involved in trying to stop this level of spending that both parties have been doing that just is totally irresponsible, and the potential opponents have been part of doing it,” Broun says.

Also to Broun’s advantage: He speaks for the religious Right. In the South, religion and politics have always been separated by only the thinnest of walls, and in Broun’s case, the line between religious and political fervor is particularly slim. “He really believes that the Lord wanted him to be a congressman,” says a source close to Broun.

Broun first attempted to enter politics in the ’90s. He ran unsuccessfully for the House twice and for the Senate once before finally pulling off a victory in a special House Republican primary against state senator Jim Whitehead in 2007.

Whitehead had endorsements from most of the state’s prominent Republicans — and a lot more money, to boot — but Broun campaigned heavily among Evangelical Christians and ran as an outsider candidate. Sources say he also took out a large personal loan to help fund the campaign, which surprised some political observers because he’d declared bankruptcy in the 1980s. Broun won by 394 votes, astonishing many in the state GOP.

 

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