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Friday, November 16, 2007

Broun trying to abort re-election hopes

The knock against Paul Broun, when he first began gaining on state Sen. Jim Whitehead for the GOP nomination in the 10th District congressional race earlier this year, was that he was a wing-nut social conservative who wouldn't play ball in the compromise-fraught world of politics.

Not even four months in office, Broun seems intent on proving his critics right. His very first Capitol vote was to prohibit the feds from busting pot-smokers in states with medical marijuana laws. The move could be interpreted as a Libertarian throat-clearing, considering all six other Georgia Republicans voted the other way.

Broun continues to step out on the narrow end of the limb. This week, he introduced a bill to ban abortion. That's right, his "Sanctity of Human Life Act" declares that fertilized ova are entitled to the constitutional promise of life, liberty, etc. Quoth Broun in a statement:

It is only right that we recognize these unborn children as "persons" and provide them with the protections of the 14th amendment.

Now, there may be plenty of conservative politicians who want to end abortion, but the savvy ones realize that the majority of Americans prefer the status quo. Plus, putting this desire in the form of a bill effectively IDs any congressman as a fringe-dweller.

That could explain why Rep. Broun has been such a sorry fundraiser so far. He'll need to defend his post in next year's elections, but the incumbent is already far behind his GOP challenger, state Rep. Barry Fleming of Augusta.

According to the most recent campaign disclosures, filed in October, Broun has $34,800 cash on hand, compared to Fleming's bankroll of $269,000. Perhaps even more telling is the fact that the congressman is still carrying $293,000 in debt from his razor-thin win over Whitehead. That figure includes a $124,000 loan the wealthy Broun made to himself, but, jeez -- when you're starting a short, tough primary race six figures in the hole, that ain't good.

Now, Brounians would note that their man had a similar financial disadvantage in his last race, but the difference is that Whitehead was a bonehead campaigner who thumbed his nose at Athens voters. Unless Fleming takes a dump in the UGA hedges, this time next year we'll be calling him congressman.

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