The five Republicans running for the 11th District nomination to Congress gathered in the beautiful old historic courthouse in Canton on Monday night and if incumbent U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk came away with whiplash it could be understood.
The freshman Republican from Cassville was seated in the middle, two challengers on either side of him and his neck was on a pretty constant swivel for the hour-long forum. Whether it was his vote for an omnibus spending bill last year, or for John Boehner as speaker of the House, Loudermilk had a target on his back.
"It’s never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right," challenger Billy Davis said about Loudermilk's vote for the spending bill that "funds" Planned Parenthood while calling one's self pro-life.
After Loudermilk explained the bill had no direct funding for Planned Parenthood, rather it included block grants the clinics could apply for, Davis said that was splitting hairs.
"If Mr. Loudermilk gave one dollar to Planned Parenthood to kill one baby that’s wrong," he said. "And somewhere in that mix of taxes money went to Planned Parenthood."
Daniel Cowan, the best-funded of all the candidates, also zeroed in on Loudermilk's voting record.
"For me it’s more political cross-talk," he said. "If you read what people talk about with the omnibus spending bill, it’s written very clearly in there it funded Obamacare. We’ll vote to fund something and then we’ll vote to defund something. That’s why nothing really gets done in Washington."
Earlier Monday, there was also a forum for candidates for U.S. Senate, minus the incumbent. Long-shot challengers Derrick Grayson and Mary Kay Bacallao. Missing was Johnny Isakson, the man most likely to still be the Republican nominee after May 24.
But Isakson's absence was noted. "He's just coasting," one voter told another upon hearing Isakson was not there.
Grayson and Bacallao made their case for why Isakson should go. Bacallao, a Fayette County School Board member, centered her bid as against Common Core but said Isakson has voted against the Republican Party's core values.
Grayson said Isakson has abandoned the U.S. Constitution with budget-busting votes.
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