The Senate Race: A Whole Picture

July 26, 2014 11:00 am

by Jon Richards · 12 comments

Editor’s Note:  This guest post was written by Stephen Greenway, who is a rising sophomore at the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs.  Stephen is also the Secretary of the Georgia Association of College Republicans.  It is his take on where the Georgia Senate race stands as we head toward the election in November.

Both Nunn and Perdue are Anti-Politicians

Despite their politically powerful families, neither Michelle Nunn nor David Perdue showed much interest in entering Georgia politics before Senator Chambliss announced his retirement in the spring of last year; in fact, both candidates seemed content with their respective work in philanthropy and business. Michelle was serving as the head of a national volunteer organization spearheaded by Bush 41 before she became the democratic nominee; David was a management guru who specialized in reviving large corporations prior to deciding to throw his hat, and part of his self-made fortune, into GOP politics. Both nominees have achieved a great deal in their lives outside of the gold dome and outside of Washington, and it will be thrilling to watch the two of them, both without voting records of any kind, offer their plan of action for our divided nation.

Perdue does what it takes to win

It was surprising to see David Perdue take on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Republican Party, and win the nomination in the end. It’s obvious that Perdue’s team saw the pathway to 50.1% and went for it, disregarding county GOP straw polls and activists that they knew weren’t going to be on their side no matter what. Perdue didn’t win any big name endorsements, and he didn’t try to. He adopted the concerns of the people he was talking to at his campaign stops into his political platform, and targeted voters who would show up 9 weeks later to vote again. When attacking his opponent, he exposed not only figures that indicated Jack Kingston had fought for district earmarks, but he included data on other members of the Georgia congressional delegation, including former congressman Nathan Deal. He defied the rules, pissed off the party elite, and won.

Nunn will have to speak out

Michelle Nunn easily won her Democratic primary back in May. Leading up to the Republican runoff, Nunn has been busy raising cash and growing her statewide campaign infrastructure. With the general election matchup now set, Nunn will have to speak more clearly about her policy stances and draw clear contrasts between herself and David Perdue. In the past, she has been criticized for avoiding taking positions on issues of controversy and national importance.

With the national media tagging Georgia’s Senate Election as “the race to watch,” Nunn will have to show boldness and unveil the essences of her candidacy. She will undoubtedly attack Perdue’s business record, charging that he is an out-of-touch Romney who has spent his life in pursuit of corporate profits. But she should tread cautiously. Nunn herself was raised in Washington, D.C. Her Perry, GA roots are shallow, and she’s much more associated with Midtown, Atlanta than with the peanut farms of rural Georgia. If she pushes the “too rich and too-out-of-touch” card too hard, it could backfire on her campaign.

Truth be told, there’s no good ole boy or hometown country girl in this race. It’s a sprint between two ivy leaguers and two people who have used their life experience, instead of their political expertise, to win over an incumbent-exhausted electorate.

What kind of race will this be in October?

It is the joy of many politicos to break down each election cycle and try to draw grand conclusions about our nation’s political compass from the races. However, this year’s results have been scattered. From the outcomes of the primaries, there is no neat analysis of where Democrats and Republicans stand in the eyes of the public.

I truly believe the country is in a flux of doubt and cynicism about our world and our government’s ability to deal with extremely complex policy problems that involve billions and affect millions. The outflow of bureaucratic failures from the Obama administration has created cynicism about our national future and disenchantment with both parties. Apolitical citizens have tuned out; the politically engaged are digging in and drifting to opposite extremes.

Where is the silent majority? And who do they support? What kind of government do they wish to have? It is unlikely that Georgia’s Senate Race will reveal all the answers, but it is certain that Georgia will be the battle field on which both sides compete in an election in which the vast majority of voters don’t believe that voting will make a difference. The candidate that convinces Georgians otherwise will win.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

FranInAtlanta July 26, 2014 at 11:35 am

Great article. So glad we have such wise young people in the Republican Party.
My take:
There is a non noisy vote in Georgia, particularly in Metro Atlanta, and Perdue carried it handily.
Michelle Nunn’s salary and the consolidation (including layoffs) at Points of Light need to be handled carefully, but need to be in the consciousness of Georgia voters.
Kingston is a pretty good guy and depending on how he handles this election and the ensuing years, a Senate seat could be in his future when Isakson retires.
Michelle Nunn is likable and would do better if a vote for her weren’t a vote for Harry Reid or whoever might take his place. That, also, needs to be in the consciousness of Georgia voters, particularly those who see her as a South Georgia candidate.
Perdue is not an Atlanta Metro candidate – he was raised South of Macon and chose to retire in very South Georgia – this needs to be planted in consciousness of Georgia voters quickly.

Jon Lester July 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm

You’re right that Nunn is likely to fall in line with the national party on any given issue, as demonstrated last summer when she lent her support to bombing Syria, despite all the clear reasons why that would have been a very bad idea. I don’t know that I would trust Perdue, but I do like his independent streak, which I hope is genuine and not manufactured. He probably won’t remind people too much of Romney, but Dollar General stores are everywhere in the state these days, and if it’s true that many of those employees are also accepting public assistance, then that could be a wild card in the race, because you know some will vent, and some customers will listen.

Bobloblaw July 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Mark Pryor and Mary Landreau prove there are no more southern Dems, only Dems

Ivybelle July 26, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Kingston claimed in an ad that David Perdue was responsible for losing 8000+ jobs and that he took a $1 million bonus. It seems a little hypocritical to hit Nunn for salary and layoffs when Perdue, allegedly, is guilty of the same.

FranInAtlanta July 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Depends on what Nunn and her supporters (and they have already started) have to say about Perdue. Poster from dailykos slamming Perdue for job losses on Facebook Wednesday morning.

Dr. Monica Henson July 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

What Ivybelle said.

rightofcenter July 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

One small correction. Perdue isn’t an ivy leaguer, although he did go to an academically superior school- Georgia Tech.

Michael Silver July 26, 2014 at 5:09 pm

I’m surprised there is doubt about the mood of the electorate. To me it’s pretty obvious. Boot every bastard who has enabled the Illegal Alien Tsunami and likely will support Amnesty.

Loudermilk wins by not supporting Boehner, who keeps pushing Amnesty/Legalization at every turn.

Perdue wins by highlighting that Kingston was owned by the Amnesty pushing Chamber of Commerce.

In MS, if the “establishment” hadn’t recruited Obama Democrats to support Cochran, he’d been replaced with McDaniel who was strong vote against Amnesty and for deportation.

Next up is the squishy Lamar Alexander, who supported Sen. Schumer’s Amnesty bill. We’ll see if the establishment will collude with Obama Democrats to retain their “boy” in the Senate.

John Konop July 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I live in the Loudermilk district, he won because he had a superior ground game over all the candidates…Also Bob Barr came across like one of the guys in grumpy old man movie….As far as Kingston, rightly or wrongly he was seen as the eastblishment candidate, and Perdue had a great focused strategy via marketing and get out to vote. Just my 10 cents…

Chet Martin July 27, 2014 at 1:08 am

*Obligatory “North Avenue Trade School” joke*

Ken July 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm

“What kind of race will this be in October?”

NAASSTTYY (said with a hiss)!

At some point, I’m hoping issues will be discussed and debated – but, then again, I’m a Republican. As for the other side of the aisle, I believe Ms. Nunn will adopt Del Shannon’s song as her theme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S13mP_pfEc

saltycracker July 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Very good overview…..The Democrat saw that we don’t want Perdue, the stinking’ rich capitalist and we love the flying Nunn of non-profits is not going to sell in a Georgia open for business.