The Next Senator From Georgia Will Probably be Nuts

“Lies straight from the pit of hell,” “War of Yankee Aggression,” and nine other quotes from actual politicians seeking statewide office in the 21st century. (Plus: kittens.)


The race to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is starting to take shape, and it’s looking pretty one-sided. Rep. John Barrow, the Democrats’ most-promising statewide candidate, has already announced he isn’t running. The Republican field is growing. Former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel, who gained notoriety last summer for attempting to sever the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation’s ties to Planned Parenthood, is reportedly considering a run. David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, launched an exploratory committee on Wednesday. If they both formally enter the race, they’ll join three candidates who made their intentions clear weeks ago: Reps. Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun, and Jack Kingston.

In their time in the House, the three congressmen have earned reputations as some of the lower chamber’s most conservative members—and also some of the most prone to going completely off the rails. Together, they pushed to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases on the grounds that climate change is a hoax (more on that in a second). They’ve called on the Smithsonian to be investigated (Kingston), proposed personhood for zygotes (Broun) and sought to block the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (Kingston again).

Here are some of their choicest quotes, each paired with a photo of an adorably confused animal so as to offset the general absurdity of suggesting (for example) that basic biology is a lie “straight from the pit of Hell”:

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Who said it? Gingrey, coming to the defense of failed Missouri Republican senate candidate Todd Akin, whose suggestion that a woman who had been the victim of “legitimate rape” had “ways to shut that whole thing down.” Gingrey told a breakfast audience in January that as an ob-gyn, he often tells women who have trouble bearing children to “relax.”

FotoYokov/Shutterstock

Who said it? Broun, offering a justification for introducing a congressional resolution to make 2010 the “Year of the Bible.” “This doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity,” he told Politico.

Dorottya Mathe/Shutterstock

Who said it? Broun, discussing a recent trip to the airport on a 2011 edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

Liliya Kulianionak/Shutterstock

Who said it? Kingston, in 2005, as part of the first-ever installment of Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a District” series.

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Who said it? Broun, in 2012, speaking in front a wall full of mounted deer heads. In response, he was repudiated by none other than Bill Nye, the Science Guy, who said Broun is “unqualified to make decisions about science, space and technology.”

Mat Hayward/Shutterstock

Who said it? Broun, one week after the 2008 election, just trying to bring attention to the fact that the president-elect might be a Marxist.

Maxy M/Shutterstock

Who said it? Gingrey, making his own ill-fated appearance on the Colbert Report, responding to the host’s suggestion that gay adoption is unnecessary because gay men can simply decide to become heterosexual.

Andrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock

Who said it? Broun, pulling out all the stops in a floor speech during the 2010 debate over the Affordable Care Act.

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Who said it? Kingston, in a 2011 appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher.

Mark Herreid/Shutterstock

Who said it? Broun, totally not comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler, in 2010.

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Who said it? Gingrey, to Colbert.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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