Representative Paul Broun is a true believer.
When Georgia political insiders talk about Paul Broun, one theme emerges again and again: Broun says what he thinks and thinks what he says.
“I hope any potential opponent will see the wisdom of staying right where they are instead of coming in and letting me beat ’em,” Broun says. “Nobody that will get in this race has actually been there, working hard in the trenches, day after day, promoting cutting spending.”
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.
Broun faces an uphill challenge. He may be one of the first Republicans to enter the primary, but he’ll be far from the last. Representative Tom Price, a prominent House conservative, is mulling a run, and representatives Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston are telling supporters that they’re going to get into the race. Other Georgia Republicans are also reportedly looking hard at running for the seat.
A Landmark/Rosetta Stone poll in late February showed the race for the GOP slot to be relatively open. Broun is at 10 percent, but his main rivals — Gingrey, Kingston, and Price — are all within five points of him, and no contender has more than 20 percent support. A third of Georgia Republicans remain undecided.
Of course, others in Washington sometimes say what they think, but Broun is more colorful than most. Here’s a quick sampling of some of his headline-making hits:
“The Constitution I uphold and defend is the one I carry in my pocket all the time, the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know what Constitution that other members of Congress uphold, but it’s not this one. I think the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one.”
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
“I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”
“I was the first member of Congress to call [President Obama] a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth.”
“Truth be told, except for foreign policy, Ron Paul’s voting record and mine are virtually identical and I wear it as a badge of honor.”
You get the idea. 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.