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Atlanta attorney may jump into GOP Senate fray

Almost-candidate says he is "running to avert a fiscal disaster" that none of the other GOP hopefuls are willing to address in earnest for fear of sacrificing votes.

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An Atlanta attorney says he is seriously weighing a Republican primary bid to succeed Sen. Saxby Chambliss, telling friends he will join the crowded GOP field if he can raise the necessary resources to be considered a viable contender.

Art Gardner, a named parter at the boutique intellectual property firm Gardner Groff, has told associates in the legal community he has launched a pledge drive to raise an initial $250,000 for a possible campaign.

“I have become alarmed by our nation’s fiscal problems … and have been studying the problem and possible solutions,” he said in an emailed solicitation provided to Tipsheet. “After a lot of careful thought, I have decided to run in the GOP primary if I can raise enough money to be a viable candidate.”

Gardner, who has never before run for political office, cautioned that he was not seeking immediate contributions, but said that pledges were “pouring in” and was “confident” he would crest the quarter million dollar watermark.

In an accompanying eight-page economic manifesto, the almost-candidate says he is “running to avert a fiscal disaster” that none of the other GOP hopefuls are willing to address in earnest for fear of sacrificing votes.

While Gardner’s platform primarily addresses the federal deficit and the sustainability of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid, it briefly veers into the realm of social issues.

The document contains no explicit reference to reproductive rights or marriage equality for gays and lesbians, relying instead on generalities on the two controversial cultural debates.

“My moderate and tolerance social positions are based on the idea that it is wrong for the morality of some to be imposed on the rest through government action,” he wrote.

Inquiries with Gardner to clarify his comments in the context of marriage and abortion were not immediately answered Tuesday.

Elsewhere, he was more specific. On the Second Amendment, he says gun rights “is the ultimate check against tyranny;” says he is “very much” in favor of term limits; and supports a path to citizenship or residency for undocumented residents who serve a 5-year stint in the military.

If he pulls the trigger, Gardner would face steep odds in an expansive GOP primary that already includes three congressmen, a former secretary of state, and businessman who shares a surname with the last governor.

All of them, except possible Rep. Paul Broun’s shoestring campaign, would be better financed and have considerably greater recognition.

Still, Gardner is bullish on his chances as a self-avowed social moderate running for elected office deep in the Bible Belt.

“My fiscal conservative/social moderate positions will make me stand out from the other candidates,” he predicted of his campaign’s political outlook. “There are a lot of voters longing for my kind of candidacy.”

Read the document in full below the fold.

- James Richardson