None of Georgia’s congressmen faltered in Tuesday’s primary although five of them faced challengers, plus Sen. Johnny Isakson’s two longshot rivals.
In the end, it wasn’t close for any of them. The smallest margin of any was Barry Loudermilk’s 60.34 percent in the 11th District followed by Doug Collins’ 61.27, both in five-man races.
All were being attacked from the right for supposedly caving in to a weak-kneed leadership that refused to stand up to a liberal president.
Rick Allen, an Augusta Republican from 12th District, defeated Eugene Yu, a rival he had beaten in last cycle’s primary that led to a pickup from the Democrats of a seat held by John Barrow. Allen, who won Tuesday by 58 points, could have been speaking for any of his fellow Republican incumbents when he said he’s kept his promises.
“We’ve fought to protect the values important to our families by opposing President Obama’s illegal executive actions to limit gun owner rights and voted to defund Planned Parenthood and investigate them for selling human body parts of unborn children,” he said. “We’ve strengthened our immigration laws and protected our homeland by voting to halt the Syrian refugee process and putting more restrictions on those traveling to the United States from Iraq and Syria.” The challenger making the best showing of the day was ex-Rep. Paul Broun who had given his 9th District seat two years ago to unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate. That made him the best known of the challengers and gave him a fundraising base beyond the district, and yet it still wasn’t enough.
The 3rd District, the one open seat, brought out seven Republicans and two Democrats. The Democrats, Tamarkus Cook and Angela Pendley wound up in a squeaker that with 12 of 13 counties reporting had them just 39 votes apart with her in the lead. But their combined 13,000 votes was less than the third-place Republican.
State Sen. Mike Crane and West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson are headed to a July 26 runoff because they only had a difference of 66 votes with all but one county reporting.
The 3rd was open because Lynn Westmoreland gave it up amid speculation that he intends to run for governor in two years. The plainspoken Westmoreland is one of the most conservative members of the House, and yet all seven Republican candidates seeking to replace him ran even to his right.
Interestingly, Westmoreland was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution using a football analogy to dampen expectations of conservatives wanting to block every leadership attempt to work with the administration.
“You have to grind those things out to get to that goal line,” he said. “You’re not going to fix it by getting up there and doing a lot of ‘no’ votes.”
Nevertheless, the very conservative Club for Growth PAC crowed about Crane’s making the runoff in the 3rd.
“Mike Crane is exactly the kind of conservative outsider we need to take on Washington,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “Mike has a successful business record and has fought against tax increases and crony giveaways in Georgia. That’s why Club for Growth PAC is proud to stand with Mike Crane.”
Nevertheless, after the votes were tallied, Georgia Democrats still expressed optimism in their own attempts to unseat Republican incumbents in the fall’s general election with attacks from the left.
“Over the next several months, Georgia Democrats will continue to hold Republicans accountable for their failed policies and divisive politics of exclusion. And we will certainly hold them accountable for creating the most dangerous presidential candidate of our lifetime—Donald Trump,” said Democratic Chairman DuBose Porter.