Several Georgians could be catapulted into Washington’s most exclusive circles next year thanks to President-elect Donald Trump.
It’s common for a politician’s earliest and loudest backers to land top positions in their administrations. Here are some of Trump’s most prominent Peach State acolytes who have a reasonable shot at landing Cabinet posts:
The most likely is Newt Gingrich. The onetime House speaker and Marietta congressman has been a close adviser to Trump and one of his most ubiquitous backers on cable news. His name in recent weeks has been floated for secretary of state. He could also serve as a senior White House adviser not unlike Valerie Jarrett is to Barack Obama.
An alumna from Gingrich’s 2012 presidential run, Kellyanne Conway, led Trump’s campaign across the finish line. Through her polling company, Conway also has longtime ties to Jack Kingston, another prominent Trump surrogate. The former Savannah congressman specialized in agriculture and healthcare when he was on Capitol Hill, perhaps lending to top positions at federal agencies. Should Kingston decide to run for governor in 2018, Trump could also return the favor and back him.
Two men with the same last name have also been mentioned as potential Cabinet picks for Trump. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue has been floated as a possible secretary of agriculture. Meanwhile, his cousin David Perdue is among the names of current and former businessmen who could be Trump’s pick for commerce secretary. The junior U.S. senator, however, dismissed the talk on Wednesday.
Another potential agency pick is U.S. Rep. Tom Price. The former orthopedic surgeon could be an option for secretary of health and human services.
The Roswell Republican laughed at the possibility when asked about it Wednesday.
“I’m willing to serve wherever I can best serve my constituents in Georgia and the citizens of the country,” Price said.
There are also reasons to suggest Price might want to avoid the bureaucracy. His current position as House Budget chairman becomes an extra powerful one on Capitol Hill this year since he’ll be front and center to the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. He’s also been listed as a potential candidate for governor in 2018.
Other Georgians who could also find themselves in non-Cabinet positions in Washington include Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr., one of Georgia’s first elected officials to endorse Trump. McDonald would not be out of place in as an appointee to the wonky but powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Dunwoody jeweler and former Gwinnett County GOP chairman Bruce LeVell could also play a bigger role with the Republican National Committee. Ditto for lawyer Randy Evans.
Finally, Trump’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees also includes a Georgia jurist: state Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell.