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Georgia Senate primary to replace Saxby Chambliss heating up

Georgia Senate primary to replace Saxby Chambliss heating up

New poll reveals most of the field in a statistical tie just 3 months out from Republican primary.

When Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) announced his retirement early last year, an onslaught of Republican hopefuls began vying for the open seat.

Although over a year has passed since Chambliss announced, there hasn’t been a great deal of headway made in the way of establishing a frontrunner.

The Daily Caller Reports:

The poll, conducted by Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political Communications, found that the top contenders for the nomination in a virtual tie around 10 percent.

Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and the cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, ekes out a narrow lead within the margin of error at 12.7 percent. Rep. Jack Kingston and Paul Broun are tied at 10.9 percent.

Rep. Phil Gingrey is at 10.4 percent, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is at 10.2 percent.

The remaining three candidates: Eugene Yu, Minister Derrick Grayson, and Art Gardner each get less than one percent of the vote.

Mike Hassinger of Apache Political said Perdue’s slight lead was “directly attributable” to the fact that he just launched his campaign, and has been running a large television ad buy and online ads to introduce himself to the electorate. Those ads, Hassinger said, appear to be working.

“He’s also the cousin of the former Governor, so I think people recognize the last name Perdue as well,” said Frederick Hicks of Hicks Evaluation Group.

Hicks said Karen Handel was also likely benefiting from a recognizable name leftover from her 2010 run for governor, keeping her in the running with Perdue and the three congressman, in spite of raising significantly less money than them.

Despite being less than three months from the date of the primary, nearly 43% of likely voters remain undecided. The race is truly anybody’s game.

The eventual nominee the Republicans put forward will not face an easy opponent in the likely Democrat nominee, Michelle Nunn, who has raised over $3.3 million dollars since announcing her candidacy in July of last year.

This is a race we’ll be watching closely. The Senate is a top priority for Republicans during these midterm elections and losing a seat in the Republican stronghold of Georgia would have profound implications.

So tell us about these candidates — before it’s too late.


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just search Paul Broun on Youtube and the first video is him standing in front of a wall of dead deer heads proclaiming evolution is a lie from the pit of hell. The optics are horrible.

Anyone but Broun.

JackRussellTerrierist | February 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I think it’s Perdue’s to lose. Kingston and especially Gingrey are good guys. If the three can knock out the riff-raff, Georgians will a have a slate of pretty good candidates for their primary.

Like many Southern states, Georgia requires a run-off if no candidate wins a majority in the primary. Run-off dynamics are different; the committed supporters of those candidates who fail to qualify don’t have much incentive to participate in the run-off UNLESS there was acrimony with one of the finalists. Turnout is usually lower because of this and the lack of other races or ballot issues at the run-off.

Most often, the candidate with the lead in the first primary wins the run-off, but not always. Examples from the recent past in neighboring SC: last year Mark Sanford led the primary for CD-1 to replace Tim Scott, and won the run-off handily despite an organized effort from out of state for his opponent.

In 2004, Jim DeMint was the second place finisher in the GOP primary for the open Senate seat behind former Governor David Beasley. But Beasley had burned many of his bridges with his party’s base as Governor, and DeMint consolidated the “not Beasley” vote to win easily.

I don’t see how this race could NOT go into a runoff. My preferred candidate is my Congressman Tom Price. I have heard through the grapevine that he did not run because he deferred to another local politician who has run a state-wide race; Karen Handel.
Handel lost to the current governor Nathan Deal in a runoff. She still has a state wide organization. She has gained some support for her time at the Susan B Komen Foundation and her withholding money from Planned Parenthood. The funny thing about that scenario was that she lost to Deal in part because she was not perceived as particularly strong on pro-life issues.

Perdue is basically getting by on his last name. I would like to see what support his cousin will drum up.
Kingston has probably done his homework and has travelled quite a bit across the state in hopes of running for higher office. He has a down-home personna which would play very well with GA voters.

Gingrey is a nice fellow but somewhat of a softie. I always thought he attained his level of competence when he won the election for the House in 2002. He will lose a bit of support for his barbs fired at Rush Limbaugh. He soon apologized for that but the damage was done.

I see this as a 3 person race between Perdue, Handel, and Kingston. The wild card is Broun. I think if he were nominee, this seat would be won by Nunn. He tends to be a bomb thrower but he also has a very rabid and enthusiastic bunch of supporters. They will crawl over broken glass to vote for their guy. He should have stayed in the House.

I think Perdue, Handel, or Kingston defeat Nunn quite handily. If I had to predict the runoff at this time, I would choose Handel and Kingston to be in the runoff.

It would not surprise me if Johnny Isakson retired from the Senate in 2016. My guess the front runners for the Isakson seat will be Tom Price and the 2014 runoff loser.

SouthronAmerican | February 26, 2014 at 3:44 am

Given the specifics on the 2014 election cycle, Perdue is by far strongest candidate. With a sitting Congressman it would allow Nunn to run against our current, unpopular congress, while Handel just doesn’t seem to be able to raise the funds needed to be competitive.

If Perdue’s early material is in any indicative of he’ll run his overall campaign, it will be tightly focused on economic issues and will be disciplined enough not to say anything outlandish. He’s also likely to be able to gain enough support to take the state out play much faster than the other candidates which will allow both the state and national parties to spend money elsewhere that would otherwise be spent shoring up one of the other candidates.