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Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., says he has a time-tested, conservative record on which people can count if he’s elected to the U.S. Senate, and he warns voters of buyer’s remorse if they elect either of the other top two contenders in the race.
The GOP Senate primary is one of the most competitive in the nation. Fox News anchor host Sean Hannity has endorsed Kingston, saying:
“I have known Jack Kingston for 20 years. He’s a solid Ronald Reagan Republican and my choice in the Georgia Senate race. Jack will join the conservative coalition in the U.S. Senate.”
Seven candidates are jockeying to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The latest surveys show businessman David Perdue in front, with Kingston in second and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel closely behind in third place. Representatives Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are a few points back of Handel. With no one in position to win a majority of the vote, the top two finishers head to to a July 22 run-off.
The Georgia primary is Tuesday.
Kingston has been targeted by his fellow members of Congress as well as Perdue and Handel for being a partner in the growth of government during his 22 years in Washington. Kingston said he has more than two decades of conservative leadership that voters can count on if he’s elected to the Senate. The congressman said his 96 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and A+ from the National Rifle Association prove his commitments to conservative principles, in addition to endorsements from Hannity, Flat Tax author Steve Forbes and Fair Tax architect John Linder.
“We want to make sure people know I have honest-to-goodness conservative credentials that have been tested and tried,” Kingston said. “On the other hand, David Perdue yesterday came out for a tax increase. That’s not a conservative position. He’s pretty weak on the Second Amendment. That’s well known. He’s flip-flopped on Common Core. Those are things people care about in Georgia. We want to make sure people know the difference between my voting record and his rhetoric.”
In an interview with the editorial board of the Macon Telegraph, Perdue discussed the need to grow revenue in a way that led Kingston and others to accuse Perdue of being open to a tax hike.
“Well here’s the reality: If you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it – I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending,” Perdue said. “You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing.”
Thursday on Herman Cain’s radio show, Perdue tried to clarify what he meant.
“I’ve been preaching for over a year that to solve the debt crisis we have to cut federal spending, and we have to grow the economy,” Perdue told Cain. “The other day in the editorial-board interview, I said we need to cut taxes so we can grow revenue – without tax increases, I might add.”
Kingston isn’t buying it.
“Let me tell you what happened,” he said. “He got out of that room, and he got clobbered. He was being an insider, which he is. This is a guy who took stimulus money, sat on the board of a company that took $3 million in stimulus funds. Now he’s going out and telling people the stimulus bill was a bad bill.
“He absolutely said he supported revenue increase. He didn’t mention growth. He’s coming back to that position. I understand why he’s doing that, because he walked out of there and his handlers said, ‘You got way in front on this thing. You shouldn’t have been talking like that.’ He’s already come out for one tax increase on Internet sales, so it’s not that big of a change. This is a guy who likes big government, from stimulus programs to a bailout which he did.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.:
The congressman also says Perdue's business career leaves much to be desired, noting Perdue drove a major textile company into bankruptcy and laid off thousands of workers while making out quite well for himself.
"He did it in a nine-month period of time and took the largest bonus in textile history," Kingston said. "As a Republican, how in the world will he get by in November? I can already see the ad, one of the 8,000 people who were fired saying, 'I lost my job. He ended up in a very nice, luxurious house with his golden parachute."
He added, "David Perdue has never voted in a Republican primary. If he was charged with being a Republican, is there enough evidence to convict him?"
So how would Kingston have answered the question about whether spending cuts or revenue growth is the better strategy for restoring fiscal sanity in Washington?
"We do not have a tax problem. We have a spending problem," he said. "The way we have got to balance the budget is we have got to cut spending and shrink the size of government. If you do that, obviously the economy is going to grow on its own and I would say the best way get the economy going is to develop energy independence with North American oil, push back on the regulatory overreach, kill Obamacare and replace it with a market-driven, patient-centered health-care system, replace welfare with workfare and have a simplified tax code."
As proof of his conservative credentials on fiscal matters, Kingston points to his opposition to the recent Ryan-Murray budget deal, debt-ceiling increases, TARP and stimulus plans under both Presidents Bush and Obama in addition to Obamacare and the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts.
Kingston is also unabashed in his contention that he is a far better choice for the GOP nomination than Karen Handel.
"As chairman of the Fulton County Commission, she increased spending $46 million," he said. "When she ran for governor, her votes for organizations like Planned Parenthood were very well vetted, which is why people rejected her candidacy. As there's more of a spotlight on those types of votes, people are going to say, 'Not what I'm looking for, not a true conservative."