As the end of the first quarter approaches, Georgia is shaping up to be ground zero for the most congressional turnover in the 2014 cycle. No other open Senate seat so far this cycle has produced as much jockeying among the House delegation as in the Peach State, where as many as five members could be poised to run statewide.
GOP Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston appear poised to soon announce bids for the state’s open Senate seat, joining Rep. Paul Broun, who has already declared.
Republican Rep. Tom Price has reportedly met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week. Price has said he will not make a decision on a bid until May. On the Democratic side, Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow opened the door — widely — to a Senate run.
And members may not be the only candidates hoping to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate, and David Perdue, the nephew of a former governor, are reportedly mulling bids.
All the ambition sets up the very real possibility that five members of the state’s congressional delegation will mount a statewide bid, leaving five open House seats and creating a serious downballot domino effect between now and next year’s primary.
That’s left conservatives in the state with significant worry.
Virginia Galloway, the state director for Americans for Prosperity Georgia, told CQ Roll Call in January she was uneasy about the prospect of “fruitbasket turnover,” in which a number of members jump into the Senate race.
Her worry remained Thursday as the metaphorical basket was in the midst of toppling over.
“It’s a deep concern for people like me,” she said. Galloway explained the concern is about the loss of institutional knowledge and seniority in Georgia’s congressional delegation. She noted there would be a ripple effect, as ambitious state legislators looked to jump from the Georgia General Assembly to Congress, leaving a number of open state legislative seats.
All of that sets up the busiest political season in Georgia in a decade.