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Paul Broun 2.0? Ex-lawmaker wins surprise VP nod from Georgia Constitution Party

Is a political rebirth for former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun underway, this time as a third-party candidate? Maybe, from what we can tell.

Weeks after his Republican primary loss in the Ninth Congressional District, the tea party darling has resurfaced, this time as the vice presidential nominee for the Constitution Party of Georgia.

Word's getting out now that the party made the surprise decision at its state convention in McDonough on June 10, choosing to dither from Utah university administrator Scott Bradley, who was selected as the VP pick at the national party's convention in April.

The group highlighted Broun's Capitol Hill track record on taxes, the debt ceiling and abortion in its announcement. But just as pertinent is Broun's name recognition throughout the state:

“We all like him a lot and he’s very well qualified," said Garland Favorito, elections director for the Georgia Constitution Party, of Utah's Bradley. "However, from the state of Georgia’s perspective we felt that Dr. Broun could bring us more votes in Georgia because he’s very well-known and he represents our platform." 

Georgia's Constitution Party, you see, faces several major hurdles as it looks to build its presence in the state. Having a well-known figure on the ticket could help immensely.

Their first big hurdle: the party needs to secure a spot on the November ballot. A third party hasn't done that since Pat Buchanan qualified for the Reform Party in 2000.

Under a recent federal ruling (which Georgia has appealed), they must collect 7,500 signatures in order to do so. That's a tall order since that number is higher than the party's list of members in Georgia, according to Favorito. But it's significantly lower than the state's previous requirements for third-party ballot access of tens of thousands of signatures.

Their second big hurdle: Should they make it onto the ballot, the party wants to win 2 percent of the vote for president so that its candidates can qualify for statewide office in subsequent elections, as Georgia's Libertarian Party is currently able to do. (The Democratic and Republican parties aren't required to petition because they're essentially grandfathered into the system.)

Favorito said Broun did not run or campaign for the position, nor did he attend the party's convention:

“He knows us and we know him but he was totally unaware that we would do this.”

We've reached out to Broun to get his take on the nomination and to see if he's accepted. We'll update this post when we hear back.

Broun has laid low since his crushing loss in the Ninth District primary on May 24. The former congressman was looking to force two-term incumbent Doug Collins into a runoff, but he wasn't able to kick ethics questions leftover from his time on Capitol Hill nor could he match Collins' fundraising machine. He was ultimately able to muster only 22 percent of the vote, allowing Collins to easily cruise to victory with more than 61 percent of the vote.

Read more:

Georgia to fight ruling that lowers bar for third-party presidential candidates

Ruling eases way for third-party hopefuls on Ga.’s presidential ballot

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.