This ring is getting full of hats.
I try to keep track of politics, but I must admit I had no idea how many people had actually declared to run for U.S. Senate until this week.
With Sen. Saxby Chambliss retiring at the end of 2014, the door to the halls of power has been flung wide open and a crowd of eager replacements are fighting to walk through first.
A total of seven Republicans and three Democrats have stepped forward so far, and as of this weekend, Georgia will have an independent candidate entering the race.
Terry Holley, of Thomson, was set to introduce his platform at a gathering in Appling on Saturday.
According to his press release, Holley is a former schoolteacher who owns Holley Jewelers in Thomson and serves as the music director at Mt. Horeb Baptist Church. He has served on the executive committee for the Georgia Democratic Party and has four children.
Other than that, I know little about Holley. Although the press was invited to his event, he’ll soon learn that in these times when newsrooms are stretched thin, expecting a phalanx of reporters to march out to Appling on a Saturday afternoon is fairly optimistic.
I suppose we will see how serious a candidate he is by how soon the others start to attack him.
It is assumed the three sitting members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey have the inside track on the Republican nomination. Each have natural advantages in fundraising and in getting media attention for whatever they say or do. That’s not always a good thing.
Both Broun and Gingrey got their share of attention this week in ways their campaign managers could have done without.
A watchdog group named Broun to its “most corrupt” members of Congress list. It was the second year in a row that Broun made the list from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which cited Broun’s “failure to disclose the true source and terms of his campaign loans” as the reason he was included among the four Democrats and nine Republicans on its list.
The CREW report says that when Broun ran for office in 2007, he reported making interest-free personal loans to his campaign. In 2010, his campaign reported making more than $30,000 in interest payments to Broun, the report said. Broun, naturally, refutes the claims.
Gingrey’s latest moment in the media spotlight came in his attempt to gain attention by rejecting the plan to continue subsidies to members of Congress and their staffs for healthcare premiums.
Gingrey lamented being “stuck” making $172,000 a year, while aides will go on to make in big bucks as lobbyists.
He said staff members “may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street... and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year,” according to the National Review.
That’s the kind of remark that will get you press attention every time. Both Gingrey and Broun, however, are big boys and used to taking their lumps in the news.
As for Holley, he’ll know he has arrived on the fast lane of politics when someone tries to let the air out of his tires. I wish him the best of luck.