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.

otsphoto/Shutterstock

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.

S.P./Shutterstock

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.

Schubbel/Shutterstock

Who said it? Gingrey, to Colbert.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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