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Out with the Old: Perdue Takes the GOP Nod in Georgia Senate Race

Businessman trumps congressman in tight runoff to face Nunn in race that could flip a seat blue. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

by
Alexandra C. Pauley

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July 23, 2014 - 7:57 am
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Vote tallies creeped in slowly last night from Georgia’s 159 counties for the runoff to fill the GOP’s slot in the U.S. Senate race. It’s the first time Georgia has held a nine-week runoff election, and both candidates came out swinging.

When the final count came in, it was almost a shock to see either name in the lead.

Businessman David Perdue took the GOP nomination with 50.9 to 49.1 percent. Much like the runoff election itself, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) kept a slight lead till the very end, when Perdue edged forward in what could easily be likened to a photo finish.

Georgia learned two very important lessons last night: First, that maybe it is time for a fresh face in Congress. Second, that a single vote can go a long way.

The few ayes have it

Polling stations were very different yesterday compared with the first primary nine weeks ago. At one station, May’s big posters and avid campaigners were replaced by a small, lonely sign for one of the candidates for sheriff. The lack of turnout was noted across much of the state as voters trickled in to cast their ballots.

“Living in Old Fourth Ward in Fulton County, I’ve been very proud of the voter turnout for the last two presidential elections,” Atlanta resident Kate McNeely told PJM, “but when I asked a volunteer if it had been that slow all day, she gave me a sad smile.”

The sentiment was seconded by voices at several polling places. Turnout was low, and votes were being cast on both sides fairly evenly. Republicans were either voting for Perdue to edge out careerist politician Kingston or voting for Kingston because they thought he had the better shot to win in the general election.

“Someone said the prediction was that about 12 percent [of registered voters] would come out,” one Ninth District voter commented. “But I’m thinking they’ll be lucky to hit seven or eight.”

In fact, the day’s turnout hit just under 500,000 – almost nine percent of registered Georgia voters. In a midterm primary runoff, the low turnout was not unexpected. However, as a red state that recently only tilts conservative, Georgia Republicans might think twice about skipping the general elections as GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss retires. Especially considering their party’s push this year to take back the Senate.

The “true conservative”

Kingston has served Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993, and he hasn’t ruffled too many feathers. His experienced status should have been more help – as should his many endorsements, including from Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) – but this year has been different. Last month, Virginians voted out House majority whip Mr. Eric Cantor (R), proving that no seat is sacred. And yesterday Georgians made much the same point, albeit less fiercely.

As stated in this PJM article last week, Perdue and Kingston ran strikingly similar campaigns. Near the end, the main dig in both candidates’ political ads was that the other was “too liberal for Georgia.” When the choice appeared to be between the conservative millionaire they knew and the conservative millionaire “outsider,” Georgians seemed to eenie-meenie-miney-mo their way toward a fresh face.

Not that Perdue is without his merits. His reputation as a “turnaround specialist” in the business world offers economic clout where his political experience is lacking. It doesn’t hurt that his main opponent, Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn, similarly lacks a history in political office.

“I’m really encouraged that most people we talk to in this state are still focused on the critical issues,” Perdue said in his victory speech. “Jobs, the economy and this debt that they’re piling up on the backs of our kids and our grandkids: That’s what people in Georgia want to talk about.”

Perdue’s history in the business world – particularly his successes as CEO of companies like Dollar General and Reebok – may well put him in a good position to help America lessen its national debt. But the ensuing months may highlight his failures, as well. For example, he spent only seven months with textile giant Pillowtex, but could not lift the company out of financial trouble.

Top Rated Comments   
Negativism from the Right? They voted FOR Perdue. But Perdue has yet to fully embrace them. And I'm not talking about feelings -- I'm taking about realpolitik.

Based on what we can tell from other races and the visible ground race in key counties like Cobb, the Tea Party turnout was one heck of a lot higher than GOP turnout. In terms of volunteer work on the ground, too, it was a great deal higher.

There is nothing wrong with making some demands in light of that. Nor is there anything wrong with refusing to vote for or work for someone who supports the decimation of the working and middle classes through illegal and legal immigration. Perdue will need to match his rhetoric with commitment on this issue.

We've offered the carrots. Doing so without remembering the sticks is not only stupid: long-term, it is self-destructive. In order to cement positive political change, you have to hold candidates responsible for their views.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Demographics and GOP malice towards the Tea Party, Rudy. A growing Democratic electorate and a careless and self-destructive, crony-capitalist indebted GOP.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where is all of this doom and gloom coming from? This was a primary runoff and it is over. There were no scandals like in Mississippi and the race was very close. Kingston conceded and told his followers to back Perdue. How does this turn into a win for Nunn? She has shown no sense of running a good race and has avoided obamacare like it was Ebola. Can someone please tell me how this is going to be a blue flip? I have read this over and over but it seems to be from people who need to fill a writing commitment to their boss and nothing more.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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It is a sad commentary that someone like Michelle Nunn could be considered a "successful" leader. She'd just be an ugly farm girl from Perry, Georgia if her father hadn't been elected to the Senate. She's married but she kept the Nunn name because of its political value. She's "famous for being famous" and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that her various "service organizations" are all money laundries to gather foundation and government money and spread the wealth around to Democrat constituencies and fronts.

Of course, the various self-anointed "true conservatives" on here are more than happy to bolt the Republican because of his Chamber ties, but they're apparently OK with the very archetype of what is wrong with government influence in this Country becoming a US Senator from what should be a fairly solidly Red state. She can count on the Blacks, the teachers, and the liberals/lawyers, but that's it. What matters is if you get low turnout because of negativism from the right towards Perdue and the "magic" of the Nunn name, the last "good" Democrat, works for her.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Negativism from the Right? They voted FOR Perdue. But Perdue has yet to fully embrace them. And I'm not talking about feelings -- I'm taking about realpolitik.

Based on what we can tell from other races and the visible ground race in key counties like Cobb, the Tea Party turnout was one heck of a lot higher than GOP turnout. In terms of volunteer work on the ground, too, it was a great deal higher.

There is nothing wrong with making some demands in light of that. Nor is there anything wrong with refusing to vote for or work for someone who supports the decimation of the working and middle classes through illegal and legal immigration. Perdue will need to match his rhetoric with commitment on this issue.

We've offered the carrots. Doing so without remembering the sticks is not only stupid: long-term, it is self-destructive. In order to cement positive political change, you have to hold candidates responsible for their views.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
If a candidate is backed by the anti-American Chamber of Crony Corporatism and Serf Labor, that’s 2 strikes against him right there.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not worried about the GOP failing to get behind Perdue. I'm worried that Perdue will now get behind the worst RINO aspects of the Party and the Chamber of Commerce. Perdue has his own Chamber problem, exemplified in his relationship to Sonny Perdue, the Democrat turned Republican (in 1998) former governor who has taken a strong position defending Common Core.

This is a very dirty fight in Georgia, with Mississippi-level accusations against conservatives coming from the Chamber of Commerce's sleazy and deceptive front organizations -- PolicyBest, Peach Pundit, TEN, GPEE, and whatever other acronymal professional liars they've assembled of late to retread their positions from an arm's length. Sonny Perdue has not stooped to personal attack but the Chamber has, in spades. So what will David Perdue do?

The next few weeks will tell as Perdue defines his messaging for the general election. But if he fails to respect the very vigorous and diverse Georgia Tea Party (the real one, not the five Atlanta "Green Tea Party" media hounds who run cover for the Chamber through PolicyBEST but are loved by the media for their leftist postures), mend the rifts caused by the Mississippi debacle, and show strong support for our positions on the federal takeover of education and illegal immigration, there is no way for him to create the coalition of votes he will need to defeat the better-organized and lockstep Democratic get-out-the-vote machine.

Also, this is a conservative forum. As such, I would appreciate a little more critical discussion of Michelle Nunn's record -- her "nonprofit" is in reality a silk-stocking salary machine for professional leftists acting as a tax-deductible PR firm for pricey law firms and big companies that want to tout their "social consciousness" by showing up for upwards of a day to slap in some fertilizer and pansies here and there while the cameras roll.

This stuff matters.
(show less)
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
GOP primary voters also upset incumbent Thad Cochran in Miss. Senate primary, but the GOP establishment decided to use voter fraud to keep Thad "open borders" Cochran in power, even using disgusting campaign tactics like accusing GOP voters of being racists.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Several other online sources have indicted that Perdue won by a late in the game full court press and ad hammering Kingston for accepting campaign support (despite his public avowal of an anti-amnesty stance) to the tune of several million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose determined amnesty agenda is well known, characterizing this win as a Cantor-style upset and making it yet another bellwether going into November. If so, we should all be rejoicing and spread the news.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
this election is what I tell those that want third party that they are harming the country.

have the primary, make the change, if you get the votes, and now hope and pray that all republicans, conservatives will support the winner of this primary.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Republicans and conservatives and anyone with any sense at all should vote for whomever has the best shot at defeating the Democrat.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yesterday's election victory for Perdue signifies an anti-establishment fervor here in GA. I was a little surprised, as I figured Kingston had it in the bag; he got my vote but I am okay with this outcome. I will definitely support Perdue this fall.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Vote tallies creeped in slowly last night..."

The word is, "crept".

10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
It could be "creeped in", if the vote tallies were brought in by zombies.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where is all of this doom and gloom coming from? This was a primary runoff and it is over. There were no scandals like in Mississippi and the race was very close. Kingston conceded and told his followers to back Perdue. How does this turn into a win for Nunn? She has shown no sense of running a good race and has avoided obamacare like it was Ebola. Can someone please tell me how this is going to be a blue flip? I have read this over and over but it seems to be from people who need to fill a writing commitment to their boss and nothing more.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Demographics and GOP malice towards the Tea Party, Rudy. A growing Democratic electorate and a careless and self-destructive, crony-capitalist indebted GOP.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now we'll get to see how much the GOP backs someone other than their chosen favorite. If they pull a Virginia on Perdue, and walk away from him, refuse to back him with endorsements or money, it will be another harbinger of the slow death of the Establishment Republican Party.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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