Senate candidates jockey for position at Grovetown debate

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GROVETOWN — Seven Re­pub­lican candidates for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat spend a couple hours Sat­ur­­day afternoon trying to put some daylight between their brands of conservative politics on issues ranging from gun rights to global warming.

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Derrick Grayson (from left), Jack Kingston and Arthur Gardner are seen on stage during Saturday's debate among the seven Republicans running for U.S. Senate.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Derrick Grayson (from left), Jack Kingston and Arthur Gardner are seen on stage during Saturday's debate among the seven Republicans running for U.S. Senate.

The event was the sixth of seven planned debates between those lined up to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chamb­­liss, R-Ga., who will retire at the end of the year. Each hopes to be the lone Re­pub­lican to come out of the May 20 primary to face the Democratic candidate in November.

The dais at the Columbia Coun­ty Exhibition Center held three U.S. House members, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston; Ka­ren Handel, a former Geor­gia secretary of state; Da­vid Perdue, a Georgia Ports Authority board member and a former CEO of Dol­lar General; Art Gardner, a patent attorney from Cobb Coun­ty; and Derrick Grayson, a minister and engineer with Atlanta’s transit system.

Perdue, who is leading in the most recent polls, positioned himself as a “different type of candidate,” a Wash­ing­ton outsider and businessman who understands what has to be done to fix the nation’s “financial crisis.”

He repeatedly emphasized that no other major policy initiatives could be taken on until the government balanced its budget, eliminated burdensome regulation and moved to “release the power” of the U.S. economy by getting government out of the way.

Handel dismissed Per­due’s business experience while heaping blame for the nation’s woes at the feet of the congressmen on the stage. She said voters couldn’t expect different results by voting for the same politicians again and again.

“It is the career politicians and out-of-touch elitists who have gotten us into this mess,” she said.

Kingston said he wouldn’t apologize for his record of being an advocate for Geor­gia. He touted his ratings with organizations such as the American Conservative Union and National Right to Life, and he noted his recent endorsement by the U.S. Cham­ber of Commerce. He said the difference between him and other conservatives in Washington is that he is willing to engage with the other side.

“I’m running for the Sen­ate because the American dream is in peril,” Kingston said. “That’s why I’m giving up what would be a safe election to enter what will be an absolute street brawl for Senate.”

The first major difference between candidates appeared on the topic of abortion. Gardner provoked a few murmurs and scattered applause when he discussed his “pro-choice” philosophy. He said this is one area where Republicans should agree to disagree and move on.

“It is fruitless for one side or the other to try convince the other that their side is correct,” he said.

Grayson, like the other six candidates on the stage, said he was personally opposed to abortion. But from a strict “constitutional perspective,” he said, it was something the federal government had no business in. He said it was best left to the states to regulate.

“The government has no business in the taking of a life,” he said. “I don’t want them even involved with the death penalty.”

On the subject of the Se­cond Amendment, all the candidates proclaimed stances against laws that limit an individual’s rights to own firearms, with Gingrey disputing Kingston’s claim to being the candidate with highest rating from the National Rifle Association.

When asked about whether he thought human activity was behind global warming, King­ston sidestepped the issue, saying the country needed to “fearlessly” explore every avenue of developing energy resources in North America, including nuclear power, natural gas, and “clean” coal.

Gardner, a Georgia Tech graduate, said he had to believe what the majority of climate scientists were saying about climate change, although he didn’t think there was convincing evidence that human activity was a cause.

Broun was unequivocal on what he thought of the issue.

“There is no scientific consensus that there is such a thing as human-induced global warming,” he said, adding that he wanted to eliminate the Environmental Pro­tection Agency.

“I ­want to get rid of the EPA because it is killing jobs and the economy,” he said.

Gingrey said he had his doubts about carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas that contributes to the problem and cast aspersions on the administration’s efforts to address the problem. He said most scientists believed methane was a greenhouse gas.

“What are we going to do,” he said, “put a surgical mask on the rear end of every cow in the country?”

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geecheeriverman
3101
Points
geecheeriverman 04/20/14 - 05:28 am
1
0
Perdue

"Perdue who is leading in most recent polls" should be a message for all incumbents. We the people are tired of politicians who say one thing to get elected, and then join in with the elected elitists and just do as they want. My Motto: Vote Incumbents Out!

Darby
26974
Points
Darby 04/20/14 - 12:40 pm
1
0
“It is the career politicians and out-of-touch

elitists who have gotten us into this mess,” she said.

.
And just exactly what does Ms Handel consider herself to be if not a politician? And I haven't heard her say that she's running for one term and then she'll step aside.

What makes a career politician anyway?

If we don't have the courage to impose term limits on our public "servants" than we should stop complaining about how long they seek to stay in office.

I'd vote for term limits in a New York minute. Just put it on the ballot.

Darby
26974
Points
Darby 04/20/14 - 12:42 pm
1
0
I like Perdue and I like

Jack Kingston. Can't make up my mind, but there's plenty of time for that. Waiting to see who stubs his/her toe on the way to the election.

allhans
24030
Points
allhans 04/20/14 - 06:04 pm
0
1
A spokesperson for the Dems

A spokesperson for the Dems says that GA will turn this time and elect a Democrat...a loss of a seat for Republicans.

SRD
449
Points
SRD 04/20/14 - 06:44 pm
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0
Broun outshined

Broun was the winner. He was the only candidate on the stage who articulated and answered each question without question or massaging the answers. I liked Kingston but if he has an endorsement from the Chamber that means he is weak on illegal immigration. Purdue from what I have heard has side stepped the issue on Common Core which is frightening, and Handel basically basically threatened us that the only way the democrat Michelle Nunn could be defeated would be by electing a female, what a turn-off. I'd have to say Broun is the only clear choice.

SRD
449
Points
SRD 04/20/14 - 06:48 pm
0
0
Broun outshined

Broun was the winner. He was the only candidate on the stage who articulated and answered each question without question or massaging the answers. I liked Kingston but if he has an endorsement from the Chamber that means he is weak on illegal immigration. Purdue from what I have heard has side stepped the issue on Common Core which is frightening, and Handel basically basically threatened us that the only way the democrat Michelle Nunn could be defeated would be by electing a female, what a turn-off. I'd have to say Broun is the only clear choice.

bright idea
853
Points
bright idea 04/20/14 - 07:06 pm
1
0
Why do we need

US Senators from Ga? We've been without for years. No further proof than the Savannah Harbor mess. I despise Obamacare but both senators should have sold their vote to get the harbor done. They could have named it Saxby Bay and he would then have a legacy other than Saxby Who. Obamacare was going to pass anyway. I don't know who I will vote for but it won't be Broun, Gingrey or Kingston.

corgimom
34215
Points
corgimom 04/20/14 - 09:15 pm
1
0
"Blah blah, blah blah

"Blah blah, blah blah blah"

They are all big windbags and say what they think people want to hear.

Darby
26974
Points
Darby 04/21/14 - 12:39 am
1
0
"A spokesperson for the Dems says that GA

will turn this time and elect a Democrat...a loss of a seat for Republicans."

.
And some say the sky is blue because our universe exists in the eye of a blue eyed giant.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 04/21/14 - 11:48 pm
0
0
As for Democrat or...

...not that is the question. It is tough to say at this point but the Broun, Gingrey and Kingston group leave me cold.

Broun and Gingrey have hoof and mouth disease and Kingston is a hypocrite and a crook (the Jack Abramoff scandal).

If any one from the BGK trifecta is selected I will vote for Nunn or Dr. Rad.

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