In his second election in little more than a year, 10th District U.S. Congressman Paul Broun easily fended off state Rep. Barry Fleming during the Tuesday primary.
During his grassroots campaign, Dr. Broun said he believed early on in the race he could win with big numbers.
In his home county, Mr. Fleming, R-Harlem, failed to edge out Dr. Broun, R-Watkinsville, who won 58 percent of the more than 13,000 Republican ballots cast. At last count, Mr. Fleming lost in each county of the 21-county district. Overall, Dr. Broun won nearly 43,000 to about 18,000 of the Republican vote in the 10th District, with most precincts reporting.
Mr. Fleming said he intends to take some time off from politics. He credited Dr. Broun for "tapping into a deep dissatisfaction in the Republican base."
"In votes that would have normally raised eyebrows, he said, 'Yeah, I voted no because Washington is so messed up somebody has to do something different,' " Mr. Fleming said. "People identified with that."
Dr. Broun agreed.
"I think I had the message for the times," he said. "We have to make some changes in Washington. We cannot continue to leverage our grandchildren's future."
In his previous run, Dr. Broun defeated Columbia County resident and former state Sen. Jim Whitehead in a July 2007 runoff election, decided by fewer than 400 votes, to replace the late Charlie Norwood.
Despite an area resident failing to replace him and Mr. Fleming being forced out as state majority whip in the House, Debbie McCord, the county's Republican Party chairwoman, doesn't see the county losing political clout.
"We still have Ben Harbin as the chair of House appropriations, and we still have (state Sen.) Bill Jackson," she said. "Though we won't have Barry Fleming, we will have a good person in Lee Anderson to replace him. I think we're doing OK."
Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or email@example.com.