The Jolt: Tom Price joins the hunt for Georgia’s Senate seat

Tom Price. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Tom Price. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Former Health Secretary Tom Price entered the sweepstakes to be Georgia's next U.S. Senator by submitting his resume with Gov. Brian Kemp's office for the soon-to-be-vacated seat held by Johnny Isakson.

Price, a former six-term congressman, confirmed to the AJC that he applied, making him the latest high-profile figure to formally seek the spot. Other applicants include U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols – and many more are expected to join them.

The Roswell orthopedic surgeon resigned from his Cabinet post in September 2017 after racking up at least $1 million in travel on private and military jets, a string of taxpayer-funded expenses that drew bipartisan condemnation and infuriated President Donald Trump.

That gig had been a dream job for Price, a third generation doctor who built his political career around health care policy. It lasted less than eight months, and it was rocky long before the expense scandal as he struggled to sell Trump's core campaign pledge to scrap the Affordable Care Act.

Still, he makes a formidable potential candidate. Indulge us for a bit:

Pros: He's got nearly $1.8 million in his campaign account. He's close with Kemp. He's a trusted voice to conservatives on healthcare policy. He's got high name recognition, plenty of Washington experience and is comfortable in the spotlight.

Cons: His health policies have drawn bitter opposition from constituencies he'd need to win over. His expense scandal would give Democrats endless fodder. He might entice a GOP challenger. And Trump made clear his displeasure with Price throughout the flight saga.

The Trump factor looms large with this one. The president likely won’t dictate who Kemp will pick, but he’ll have influence over the decision – especially given that one of his tweets could sink an appointee’s chances by emboldening a GOP opponent.

That strained relationship between Price and Trump looms large, particularly since the president is close with other potential contenders – most notably Collins, whom he retweeted just this week.


Hmmmm…. Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan was in Washington on Tuesday. She wouldn't say why, but she's made no secret she's considering running for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat. Former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver was up there on Tuesday to kick the tires on a possible run.


Georgia lawmakers voted unanimously last night in favor of a non-binding resolution urging the Trump administration to turn over to Congress a whistleblower complaint about the president's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The final tally was 421 to 0, mirroring a unanimous vote in the Senate a day earlier. The White House ultimately submitted the complaint to Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon.


President Donald Trump, left, and U.S. Sen. David Perdue first met five years ago and worked closely since Trump took office in 2017. Perdue, who is up for re-election next year, plays up the connection on the campaign trail. “He calls me early in the morning and late at night. I spend time with him in the White House. Sometimes he’s exhausting, guys, but he works,” Perdue said of Trump at a recent gathering of religious conservatives. His opponents are also trying to tie him to the president. Photo by: Zach Gibson/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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On the subject of that phone call, Perdue and Gainesville Congressman Doug Collins were among the GOP allies summoned to the White House on Wednesday morning to talk strategy. The group also reviewed an early copy of the call summary and reportedly spoke with Trump, who called in from the United Nations meeting in New York.

Perdue later told Politico that "there's nothing in this document that backs up the whistleblower report." The media "talked about eight quid pros in there. I can't find one," he said.


Later in the day, Perdue and his Senate colleague Johnny Isakson voted against a resolution disapproving of Trump's border emergency, echoing their votes from March.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi is heading to Atlanta next week to raise campaign cash for U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Tickets to see the California Democrat speak at an Oct. 4 luncheon at the civil rights leader's home begin at $1,000 a pop.


The Zell Miller Foundation, the ambitious organization founded to promote bipartisanship and consensus in a divided political climate, is bringing some big names to town tonight for its first Atlanta forum.

The event at the InterContinental Buckhead features former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Texas who will give the keynote address.

Among the other speakers are Steve Wrigley, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia and a former aide to Miller, and Amy Jacobs, who will explore the legacy of the HOPE scholarship he championed.