Kingston’s opponent, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, took the occasion to point out a McLaughlin poll which was conducted three weeks before the primary. That poll predicted Kingston would lead the pack with 20 percent of the vote, instead of finishing second to Perdue.
McLaughlin, for his part, told reporters that Democrats were partly to blame for the higher turnout that led to Cantor’s surprising defeat. He said an open letter from former Georgia Rep. Ben “Cooter” Jones, a Democrat who now lives in Virginia, helped drive crossover voters to the polls.
Jones – who served a suburban Atlanta district in the U.S. House for two terms ending in 1993 – ran against Cantor and lost a decade ago. He took a small amount of credit for Brat’s win, but the 12 percentage point triumph could not be entirely blamed on crossover votes.
“People were just sick and tired of Cantor and … they brought the boy home,” Jones said Wednesday. “I had a little part in it, that’s what his pollster says anyway. They would rather blame it on a Democrat than blame it on a Republican.”
Jones said he was getting all sorts of kudos from Democrats and tea party types alike, and was enjoying it well.
“There ain’t no freude like schadenfreude,” he said, referring to the German word meaning “joy in others’ pain.”