Erick Erickson is looking at a move from editing RedState to representing a red state. The leading conservative blogger told his radio audience that he is “prayerfully considering” a primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in 2014.
“What I do know is that Saxby Chambliss has spent twenty years in Washington and in that time has been complicit in growing Washington,” Erickson told local station WMAZ on Tuesday, adding that “significant and prominent conservative groups” had asked him to run. “It’s time for him to come home. Whether it is me or someone else, I hope someone rises to the occasion to challenge him.”He discussed his grievances with Chambliss in more detail on RedState the same day and offered a preview of his own governing style on Twitter: “If I were a senator I’d object to every [unanimous consent], until Obamacare was repealed,” he wrote. “Shut down the Senate lest they shut down America.”
Activists on the right sense blood in the water around Chambliss, especially after he denounced Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge this week, saying “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”
As a result, Erickson may have some company should he enter the contest. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is looking at a run, according to a former consultant who spoke to the Weekly Standard. She gained national attention earlier this year as vice president of the Susan B. Komen Foundation, where she backed an effort to cut ties with Planned Parenthood only to resign amid the ensuing backlash. Other possible candidates discussed in the local press include Reps. Tom Price, Paul Broun, and Tom Graves.
A number of Republican leaders have condemned conservative groups after another disappointing election for nominating extreme or inexperienced candidates for Senate like Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell. But leading activists made clear this week that they plan to aggressively contest Republican incumbents and candidates in 2014 that they consider insufficiently dedicated to their cause.
While Georgia leans to the right, Democrats could get a boost if a brutal primary either damages the incumbent or produces a weaker nominee.
“Dems are confident we can play offense,” DSCC spokesman Matt Canter told TPM, noting that Democratic nominee Jim Martin forced Chambliss into a runoff in 2008. That initial vote had President Obama on the ticket, however, and Chambliss won by a much larger margin in the final vote the next month as turnout dropped sharply.