Gingrey was asked whether he intended to run while speaking to members of the Cobb Legislative Delegation at the Coverdell Legislative Office Building in Atlanta.
“The answer is I’m thinking about it, but I’m undecided at this point, but I am thinking about it, and I guess you could use the phrase ‘checking the boxes’ and ‘kicking the tires’ and making sure that we’re not making that decision hastily,” Gingrey said. “The election is 16 to 18 months away, but obviously we are seriously thinking about it, but I can’t tell you exactly what my deadline is in regard to making a decision.”
The MDJ also confirmed that a group of metro Atlanta business people have approached Thompson, the dean of the Georgia Senate, asking him to run for senator on the Democratic ticket.
“I may be able to give them a bigger dose of the truth in the U.S. Senate than they can take,” Thompson said. “A little hard truth during this next campaign would be exactly the thing that the people of the state of Georgia need.”
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said both Gingrey and Thompson are quality candidates.
“Republicans like Phil Gingrey an awful lot,” Swint said. “They respond to him on a personal level. He is consistent on conservative issues that Republican voters care about, and so I think any race Phil Gingrey got involved in, he’d be a strong candidate.”
Assuming Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Augusta) don’t enter the race, it would be a wide open field on the Democratic side, Swint said.
“Which would give somebody like Steve with his background and his contacts as good a shot as anybody, I would think,” he said.
But Swint said he doesn’t believe a Democrat has a good chance to win the U.S. Senate seat.
“I think their best chance is if the Republicans were to nominate someone who is just really extreme, and it becomes unacceptable over the course of the campaign, a.k.a. Todd Akin, that sort of thing, which would open things up possibly, but absent that, it’s probably a long shot for Democrats,” he said.