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Georgia GOP Senate Runoff Pits D.C. ‘Outsider’ Against Longtime Congressman

Will the open primary attract Democrats to push a weaker candidate into race with Nunn? (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

by
Alexandra C. Pauley

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July 17, 2014 - 12:01 am
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We’re down to the wire in the Georgia GOP runoff election for the Senate race, but it isn’t clear who will come out on top. A recent WPA Opinion Research poll placed the competitors neck and neck at 44-45 percent. The internal poll, pushed into the public eye by the David Perdue camp, put their candidate out in front – but numbers that close only indicate that the race is heating up.

The runoff is set for July 22. The winner will go up against Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn in the closely watched general election this fall as Republicans try to keep the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). But who will come out on top is really more a question of who won’t drop the ball between now and then.

Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General and first cousin to former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, emphasizes his business prowess and “outsider” status to politics. Meanwhile, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) is a longtime politician who has served in the House of Representatives since 1993.

It’s no small wonder that one of Perdue’s big talking points is against careerist politicians and for term limits.

Perdue with the upper hand?

Not exactly. The original primary votes left Perdue with a slight lead, but for the most part polls have put Kingston ahead in the double-digits ever since. The recent close polls are a clear indicator that July 22 is anybody’s game.

Perdue’s insistence on being seen as the “outsider” – in a time where careerist politicians are getting a particularly bad reputation – served him well in the primary at first. Yet that initial spark has seemed to fade quickly in the runoff. He trails Kingston in both campaign funds and endorsements.

In fact, the two seem caught up in a game of “Who’s More Conservative?” The primary lacked this push to the far right – likely because there were so many candidates and because none could go farther right than the Tea Party-backed candidate Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). But why pick up the far-right flag now? Each criticizes the other as being “too liberal” for Georgia, a statement that may well come back to haunt the winner in the general election against Nunn.

Kingston isn’t exactly in the clear, either. His campaign hit a snag last month when top contributors to Kingston’s campaign were linked to a felon. One Atlanta attorney even claims Kingston knew about the source, though Kingston staunchly denies the assertion.

Kingston on the offensive

When it comes down to the facts, though, Kingston’s campaign has been smoother – likely due to experience. Perdue spent the past year dogging his opponents, only to have several of them come back to endorse Kingston in the runoff, like former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel.

In a recent television ad, Kingston claimed Perdue would raise taxes – something PolitiFact Georgia rated as half true. It’s quite the damaging dig to Perdue, who claims to be the “true conservative” choice. Perdue immediately denounced the assertion as “misleading” in an interview on former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s radio talk show.

But the two candidates are running on unsurprisingly similar platforms. Both support the Fair Tax – a move that would replace the current complex income tax system with an across-the-board 23 percent sales tax on all new goods and services. Both are staunch pro-lifers and advocates for defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Both will push to clear the national debt and to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

At the end of the day, Republican voters will have to choose between two close candidates – a career politician who has solid experience in Washington, D.C., or a successful businessman who’s coming fresh to the scene.

Runoff games and the general election

But the real question coming to light is this: With an open primary, will Democrats push the lesser of two evils out of the way?

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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Will the open primary attract Democrats to push a weaker candidate into race with Nunn?

Absolutely. Uber-Leftist columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jay Bookman, admitted to voting in the Republican Primary.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Last month, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) won a tricky runoff game against his opponent, Tea Party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Instead of only campaigning to bring out his loyal voters, Cochran also reached across party lines to convince African-American Democrats to vote for him against McDaniel."

McConnell and the rest of the progressive GOP establishment raised money for Cochran to pay Democrat operatives and smear GOP voters are racists. Describing that corrupt conduct a "reach across party lines" is a little misleading, at best.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Recall that former GOP Senators, all GOP establishment types who oppose limited government, have already endorsed Nunn. The real question is who will the GOP establishment support in the general election.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
".....an across-the-board 23 percent sales tax on all new goods and services."

Boy, that's going to hurt people with modest incomes.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 23% tax is the "Fair Tax" proposal that has been around for a couple of decades now. It would replace the income tax and FICA and has a provision that would give a monthly "prebate" to legal residents. It would capture a lot of the money that is now underground that goes untaxed.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
And I would think that would hurt the bottom line of Perdue, although it might be a wash - low income shoppers might hold back on knick/knacks and really yell at their kids to leave that candy and soda where they found it, but that revenue would be replaced and possibly superceded by Target, Publix and Walmarters forced into dollar stores by a 23% sales tax.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
its going to be hard to beat bishop w/ all the voter fraud I personally saw in the last election.

wonder why nobody reminds voters that bishop was one of the lawyers involved in the 'pigford' scam? around 80k so called black farmers received payouts from the gov. for discrimination on farm loans. problem was that the census showed that there has never been more than about 20k black farmers at one time in this country. the original suit only involved a few hundred farmers. institutionalized theft = billion$ paid out to fraudulent plaintiffs. just get a couple of minority congress-critters involved and illegal becomes a money maker.

if this is the best format this site can come up with? maybe you should give it up. what, the gov. running the show now? who would doubt it? I remember when this site was fun. its like pulling teeth now trying to post.

btw, can anyone guess what future minority prez. was the other lawyer involved in the pigford fraud? hint: his wife played college football.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The winner of this primary is going up against Nunn; what has Bishop got to do with this?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
A 23 percent sales tax?
OUCH!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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