Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy of the AJC contributed to this report
So the first one in the Senate starting block is the Congressman from Athens.
Republican Paul Broun will announce today that he is running to take over for retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Broun is the first person to officially declare he’s in the 2014 race. He will make that announcement at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta. After that he will join WSB’s Erick Erickson live on Atlanta’s Evening News on News/Talk WSB at 6 p.m.
Broun’s wife Niki ended the suspense last week when she reportedly told a forum in Gwinnett County that her husband was going to run.
Even though Broun is the first person to jump into the race, don’t expect him to be the last.
“It’s going to be an interesting dynamic even if two of them get in,” Metro Atlanta Congressman Lynn Westmoreland told News/Talk WSB’s Jamie Dupree. “I feel fairly confident there will be three.”
Westmoreland is not endorsing anyone right now. He has already announced he will not be running for Chambliss’ seat.
Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, the state’s longest-serving Republican in Congress, is also seriously considering getting in. He met Monday with Governor Nathan Deal to discuss the campaign.
Even though Kingston represents costal Georgia, he grew up in Athens and does business in Atlanta. He thinks those statewide connections will help him in a possibly Senate race.
"The company I used to work for had an office up here in Atlanta, and I was up here at least once a month,” Kingston told AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway. “I’ve represented 44 counties in south Georgia, and the aggregate of those, and the fact that I have pretty strong agriculture and military/defense items that I’ve worked on, and that’s really important for the state.”
Kingston is one of the top Republicans on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Congressman Phil Gringrey has a poll out in the field to see how he would stack up. The Marietta Republican says he is “very, very interested” in running for the seat.
Roswell Congressman Tom Price is also thinking about it, but isn’t quite as gung-ho as he first was.
“If there’s an opportunity to help move the Senate in a direction that allows it to become a productive player in a positive public policy, then that’s very attractive,” Price told the AJC. “That being said, I’ve got huge responsibilities right now in the Budget Committee in the House, and my responsibility first is to fulfill those duties.”
But Jamie Dupree reports Democrats are pulling hard for Broun. They feel he is too conservative and can be beaten in 2014.
A Democrat has not been elected to the Senate since Zell Miller in 2000.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced he will not run. U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta has said that “at this time” he is focused on holding his House seat.
State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon said Tuesday that he expects the party to settle on a single candidate within the next four to six weeks.