SAVANNAH — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston has political events planned across Georgia this week after months of speculation about whether the Savannah Republican will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Kingston, 58, has scheduled news conferences Thursday in Savannah and coastal Brunswick, both key cities in his 1st District House seat, the congressman’s spokesman, Chris Crawford, confirmed. Crawford declined to say what Kingston will announce, but he said more events are being scheduled “across the state” Friday.
The Friday events will include a “kickoff” fundraiser for Kingston in Savannah, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. The invitation does not specifically mention a Senate campaign.
Kingston, who has represented southeast Georgia in Congress for 20 years, has been mentioned as a likely 2014 Senate candidate since Chambliss announced his retirement in January. Two other Republican congressmen, Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta, have already kicked off their Senate campaigns.
More contenders could follow. Other Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates include U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price, former Gov. Sonny Perdue and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.
Democrats whose names keep surfacing are Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., but Barrow has said he is not interested in running for Chambliss’ seat “at this time.”
Kingston told an Associated Press reporter to “stay tuned” when asked about the Senate race in mid-April. Soon afterward Kingston reported raising $843,000 in campaign contributions during the first three months of the year, roughly 10 times his fundraising total for the same period two years ago.
Meanwhile, a veteran Republican state legislator is getting ready to launch his campaign for Kingston’s House seat. Dave Simons, a political consultant for state Sen. Buddy Carter of neighboring Pooler, said Tuesday that Carter plans to announce his congressional bid for the 1st District on Monday.
Kingston was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992, making him the longest-serving Republican member of Georgia’s congressional delegation. A former insurance brokerage executive, Kingston served in the Georgia House from 1985 through 1992.