Opinion

January 29, 2013

Georgia needs new blood in the U.S. Senate

Georgia needs someone with intellectual and physical vigor to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who announced last week he will not seek re-election in 2014. The state needs someone who can serve two or three terms in the Senate and build the connections and personal influence that can serve the state and the nation well. And it needs someone who hasn’t spent a career in politics, building up political and emotional debts to party leaders and special interest groups.

Will the state get such a senator?

It depends on who runs, and right now the names that are being mentioned by party insiders and political pundits don’t give us hope that Georgia will get someone new and exciting. On the Republican side, some of the names being floated include former governor Sonny Perdue; U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Lynn Westmoreland, Tom Price and Jack Kingston; former secretary of state Karen Handel; and businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

None of those potential candidates is under the age of 50, and Cain, who insists he isn’t running, is the only one who hasn’t held elected office.

On the Democratic side, some of the names getting mentioned include U.S. Rep. John Barrow, former state attorney general Thurbert Baker, former state labor commissioner Mike Thurmond and former state representative and gubernatorial candidate DuBose Porter.

None of those men are under 57 years old, and all have held elected office.

Running for statewide office takes a great deal of money, and it requires dedicated and skilled staff and volunteers. Those are things that can’t be created overnight. That’s why those who run for a statewide office generally have several successful elections under their belts. But a fresh and exciting newcomer can overcome those hurdles.

We hope that some of our state’s business leaders might consider running for Chambliss’s seat. We hope that some of Georgia’s junior legislators and some of its mayors and city council members might consider a run.

Georgia needs a senator who isn’t afraid to take risks, someone who will put the state and the nation before party and special interests.

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