Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Georgia Senate Race Ramping Up

In Senate on April 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The important open Georgia Senate race is starting to hit its stride. With Sarah Palin landing here to endorse one candidate, a new poll placing the businessman candidate in the lead, a Democrat ad released touting the candidate’s association with a Republican president, and a Republican spot sporting a mediocre impersonator of a Democratic president, the activity level is clearly revving up.

Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, came to the Atlanta area for a series of events in support of former Secretary of State Karen Handel, the only female in the Republican primary. Handel is no stranger to performing well in a crowded statewide race. In 2010, she topped the gubernatorial field by a substantial margin but failed to exceed the 50 percent mark. She then lost the ensuing run-off election by just 2,700 votes to the man who would ultimately win the governor’s office, former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA-9).

Landmark Consulting/Rosetta Stone just released the Senate portion of their statewide poll (released March 26; 600 likely Georgia voters) and it projects former Dollar General CEO David Perdue (R), cousin to former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), as faring best against consensus Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn (see video ad above), the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D). According to these results, Perdue claims a 38-33 percent edge over Nunn, much better than Rep. Phil Gingrey’s (R-GA-11) 40-38 percent advantage, Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA-10) 39-38 percent lead, and Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-GA-1) slight 38-37 percent margin. Nunn leads Handel by an equally slim 38-37 percent.

The fact that this poll, which is not the first to show Perdue topping the field, projects the businessman to be leading the group of current and former office holders opposite Nunn affirms his campaign strategy. Perdue’s objective of lumping all of his opponents into one figurative “politician” box and campaigning against them as one entity is already solidifying.

Michelle Nunn became the CEO of former President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light foundation when the group merged with the Hands On organization in 2007. Touting her association with the former president, to the point of having film of he and she together in her new campaign ad (top), is a rather unusual tactic for, in this case, a Democratic candidate and a Republican Party leader. Obviously, Nunn has already begun her general election strategy, as she must attract a large segment of the Republican vote if she is to overcome the state’s GOP-leaning voter history.

Finally, Rep. Kingston also unveiled his new ad (see ad below), a rather bizarre approach that features pictures of President Obama and a voice impersonator copying his voice inflections and tone telling the Republican congressman that he (President Obama) doesn’t want him in the Senate. The ad’s script then has “the President” leaving a voicemail for Kingston telling him to stop opposing Obamacare and to call back. The congressman then appears and says “a call to stop fighting Obamacare is one I’ll never answer.”

Expect this type of non-stop campaign activity to continue through the May 20th Georgia primary.

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