ROSWELL, Ga. – The Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce was packed at the Jan. 29 Eggs and Enterprise breakfast to hear U.S. Rep Tom Price, R-Roswell. But the congressman declined to talk about what folks wanted to hear most.
Of course, the question on everyone’s lips that morning was if he planned to get into the U.S. Senate race. Now that incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss has announced he will not seek a third term, he has given every Georgia politician with a pulse at least a thought of running for Chambliss’ seat.
There are only two Senate seats and incumbents in the upper house of Congress. Certainly there are feelers out among many of the House members of Congress.
Some say Price would be a frontrunner among Georgia congressmen looking to step. He has a $2 million campaign chest, and that is good head start.
But other statewide names are being bandied about. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue, state Attorney General and former Cobb County Chairman Sam Olens and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle are three with statewide name recognition. Some say Secretary of State Brian Kemp is testing the waters, but many say he lacks name recognition to make a run.
U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Lynn Westmoreland are the likeliest candidates to join Price from Congress. Both have strong local bases, but Price has more statewide name recognition.
Price made it clear he had nothing to say about leaving a secure seat in the 6th District to run statewide for the Senate. Instead, he gave a talk on the post-election Congress.
“The people said we want a divided government – everybody got re-elected,” Price said.
He noted the GOP lost a few seats in the House but still maintained the largest majority since World War II.
Now the focus of Congress is on the economy and jobs.
“Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said the greatest threat to our national security is the national debt,” Price said.
That is now the equal of the country’s gross domestic product.
“That is at the Greece and Spain level. And at that level, the debt changes people’s behavior. Debt at a significant level as this makes us less free,” Price said.