U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s Senate campaign got a potentially lucrative and energetic jolt Thursday with the endorsement of former presidential hopeful Ron Paul.
Broun’s libertarian voting record and penchant for carrying a Constitution in his pocket jibes with Paul’s political profile, and the endorsement could bring Broun a new national fundraising base and — if Paul’s energy is transferable — passionate supporters.
“Congressman Broun has been a staunch ally against out-of-control spending from politicians in both parties, and he will continue that fight in the Senate,” Paul wrote in an email to supporters. “We need Paul there!”
Broun, an Athens Republican, is one of two declared GOP candidates to succeed U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is not seeking re-election next year. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta also has entered the race. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah and businessman David Perdue — the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue — are leaning toward running in the GOP primary as well.
On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta and nonprofit CEO Michelle Nunn — the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn — are the top candidates considering a run.
Broun begins his run at a financial disadvantage. As of the end of March, he had $217,000 in his campaign bank account, less than one-tenth of Gingrey’s cash on hand. Paul’s message to his email list included a request for a “generous” donation to Broun’s campaign, and Paul chipped in $5,000 from his Liberty PAC.
Paul, of Texas, served in the U.S. House off and on beginning in the mid-1970s and ran for president three times: once with the Libertarian Party in 1988, and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012. With an energetic following that skewed young, Paul was able to cause a ruckus in some state GOP power structures, but his vote totals lagged. He took 6.6 percent of the presidential primary vote in Georgia; Newt Gingrich won the state with 47.2 percent.
Paul retired from Congress at year’s end, and Broun sought to carry his flag this year, including reintroducing a Paul bill to audit the Federal Reserve.
“When I first came to Congress in 2007, Dr. Paul and I were the two most consistent and outspoken constitutional conservatives serving in Washington,” Broun said in a statement. “As Dr. Paul knows, it’s often a lonely fight when you’re one of the few Members in Congress with the courage and principles to say no to the out-of-control spending being done by both political parties.”