Georgia Rep. Paul Broun is running to replace retiring Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, and he seems pretty confident that the seat is his — or at least whoever becomes the GOP's nominee — for the taking. Unless, of course, "all these illegal aliens in here in Georgia" are allowed to vote, the congressman told a local radio host this week.
Broun's comments are pretty much the opposite of the GOP's new effort to win over Latino voters, especially since they were prompted by a pretty tame question about how Georgia's changing demographics could play out in the elections. Here's the clip:
"The only way Georgia is going to change is if we have all these illegal aliens in here in Georgia, [and] give them the right to vote. It would be morally wrong, it would be illegal to do so, under our current law," Broun said. But Broun's theory doesn't really hold up to the actual demographics of the state, something the GOP has been dealing with (or trying to, at least) on a national level since the 2012 elections.
In 2012, about 44 percent of Georgia's voting population was non-white. And Hispanics accounted for 23 percent of the state's population growth between 2000 and 2009. Hispanic and African American voters tend to go strongly for Democratic candidates, and both minority populations are big considerations for Georgia's changing voting population. Even Karl Rove is worried about the GOP's future in Georgia, singling out a handful of counties in the state to make a point about his party's need to reach beyond its white base. Rove wrote in a June 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed:
If the GOP leaves nonwhite voters to the Democrats, then its margins in safe congressional districts and red states will dwindle—not overnight, but over years and decades. For example, the Hispanic population in Georgia's Gwinnett County increased by 153% from 2000 to 2010 while the GOP's presidential vote in the county dropped to 54% in 2012 from 63.7% in 2000. In Henry County, south of Atlanta, the Hispanic population increased by 339% over the same decade. The GOP's presidential vote dropped to 51.2% in 2012 from 66.4% in 2000. Republicans ignore changes like these at their peril.
So, should the GOP go centrist in Georgia? Absolutely not, says the very conservative Broun. Because the Democrats would also win against a RINO, he believes:
“The only way that a Democrat has any possibility of winning this race—and frankly, I think it is very minor at that—is if we nominate a mamby-pamby, big-spender, big-government, big-earmarking Republican who is nothing but somebody who wants to build a bigger government, just like we’ve seen both parties build in Washington. That may give a Democrat the chance to win. But otherwise, when I’m nominated, I’ll be the most-electable candidate out of the whole Republican field that’s out there now in this race.”
According to The Hill, that comment is apparently aimed at his rival for the Senate nomination, Rep. Jack Kingston. Other candidates include Rep. Phil Gingrey, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and businessman David Perdue.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.