ATHENS, Ga. — New Republican nominee David Perdue and Democratic opponent Michelle Nunn used the first day of the general election campaign to retool the “outsider” arguments they’ve used to reach this point in a race that will help determine who controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.
Their first targets: each other’s private sector experience.
Perdue was a journeyman corporate CEO; Nunn is a nonprofit executive on leave. Neither has held public office, making Georgia’s Senate race the only one in the country to feature two self-styled “outsiders” who now must find other distinctions to capitalize on voter discontent.
“I do think that our records are very different,” Nunn told reporters in Athens, a liberal enclave that is home to the University of Georgia.
Nunn, 47, is on a leave of absence as CEO of Republican former President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light foundation, which coordinates various volunteer efforts.
“My record, obviously, is around building communities, lifting people up, trying to make a difference, working in collaboration with folks from the other side,” she said in offering a more muted version of earlier criticism from Perdue’s primary rivals who noted that he presided over layoffs and outsourcing.
Perdue, 64, downplayed Nunn’s resume as inferior to his.
“My issue isn’t so much how she ran that organization,” he said in a Wednesday interview. “It’s just that that leadership does not prepare you, in my mind, to deal with issues we have in a free-enterprise system. I want to focus on why my background is more appropriate to lead in the Senate in regard to bringing economic and free-enterprise solutions to fix the problems that we have with the economy today.”
Republicans and Democrats agree: Their own member of Congress isn’t part of the problem – The Washington Post
The American people claim they really, really hate Congress. We’re a little skeptical.
Want proof? According to a new Pew Research Center poll of voter attitudes, 69 percent of people would like to see most members of Congress sent packing in the 2014 election. That’s up 13 points since the last midterm in 2010. And … wow.
When it comes to their own members, though, only 36 percent say the same. That’s up just two points from four years ago and not much higher than in 2006. Clearly, people aren’t lining up to toss their baby out with the bathwater.
Quick: To what political party does your member of Congress belong?
About three-quarters of you came up with an answer. Of that number, a third of you were wrong. At least if we can extrapolate from analysis released by Pew Research on Thursday. They found that 53 percent of Americans could identify their representative’s political party which, let’s be honest, is not so good.
The numbers vary slightly based on various demographic data, but not a whole lot. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to get it right (unsurprisingly). Men were more likely to get it right than women, but got it wrong just as much. Republicans got it right the most, but that appears to be in part because moderate Democrats were remarkably bad at the question.
Any time I write about President Obama’s lackluster poll numbers, any number of people take to Twitter to helpfully remind me that he isn’t on the ballot this fall and is constitutionally barred from seeking a third time. Their argument comes down to this: Who cares what President Obama’s approval ratings are?
A new national Pew Research Center poll shows why any Democrat on the ballot this November should care. Roughly three in ten people said that their vote this fall would be “against” Obama as compared to just 19 percent who said that their vote would be to show support for the president. Those numbers aren’t as bad as what George W. Bush and Republicans faced before the 2006 midterms (38 percent voting against Bush, 15 percent voting for him) but are worse for Obama than at this time in the 2010 election cycle (28 percent vote against, 23 percent vote for) in which the president’s party lost 63 house seats.
As interesting/important question is who Obama is motivating to vote this fall. A majority (51 percent) of voters who say they are planning to vote for a Republican in their district say they mean that as a vote against Obama. Among self-identified Republicans, 55 percent say their congressional vote is meant to be against Obama; 61 percent of conservatives say the same. On the other end of the spectrum, just 36 percent say that their vote for Congress is meant as a vote for Obama. More than one in four (27 percent) of independents say their vote is against Obama; just 10 percent say it is in support of the president.
What those numbers suggest is that while Obama is not the only factor in how people will vote this fall, he is absolutely a factor in how people are making up their minds. And, at the moment, people who see 2014 as a way to send a signal of disapproval about Obama greatly outnumber the people who want to use their vote to show their support for him and his agenda.
Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue surprised the political world on Tuesday night, eking out a win over establishment favorite Rep. Jack Kingston for the Republican Senate nod in Georgia.
The key to that victory was how Perdue effectively leveraged his outsider status — this is his first run for elected office — to capitalize on the public’s distaste with business as usual in Washington. And that all began with his first TV ad — called “The Outsider.”
COLLEGE PARK, Georgia — Democrats have made a national cause of turning Texas blue, even though the chances that Wendy Davis will win the governor’s race this fall remain small — and the likelihood that Texas will be a true battleground any time before 2028 probably even smaller.
Georgia, on the other hand, is happening now.
Democrats here don’t have to wait for the demographic projections to come true. The state’s voting population is already much more African-American than even 10 years ago, Latinos are on the rise, and there’s a business community relocating to the Atlanta metro area at a pace that looks a lot like the migration to Northern Virginia and the North Carolina research triangle the past 15 years that turned both states into presidential battlegrounds.
Those shifts, together with the surprisingly competitive candidacies of Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn and gubernatorial contender Jason Carter, have convinced more than a few Democrats here that the Republican lock on the Peach State could be broken as soon as November.
I have sensed this growing distrust for established institutions for some time. You see it in churches that start up and do not openly affiliate with any particular denomination. You see it with the rise of the Tea Party Movement.
David Perdue came along to fill a unique political need. He holds values and a philosophy that more clearly identifies with Tea Party and independent conservatives. He is well spoken. He has a strong business background. He has a grasp of what makes our system work. He has personal resources, that he was willing to invest in a cause for which he believed.
He ran, not in order to get power, prestige, or position – but because he felt a calling to run. He ran a campaign as an outsider, going to Washington, not infected with years of inside the beltway thinking.
Most politicians in Georgia went with the safe bet, a sitting congressman. That is understandable.
With all that background, I’ll conclude the 2nd point with this observation. Those who have been involved in Republican politics for some time, were hearing each other to a large degree.
Many of those who voted in this primary have not been involved with politics. They did not get involved because of the Republican Party, they got involved because of David Perdue and his message. There is a growing distrust of Congress and that was a ball and chain from which Jack Kingston could not escape.
Score cards from lobbying groups giving A and A+ ratings were irrelevant. When the US Chamber of Commerce spent millions for Kingston, it only helped cement the idea that Washington was out of touch.
HEARTBREAK and happiness found their way into Georgia’s Republican strongholds in almost equal measure last night. After winning the party’s nomination for November’s US Senate contest David Perdue (pictured) tepidly thanked his opponent, congressman Jack Kingston, for running “a spirited race”. That is putting it nicely: Mr Kingston ran a series of ads that were as brutal as they were misleading. But bygones are bygones. Mr Perdue declared himself “humbled,” and suggested the outcome was part of “a mission from God”. Oh, and he also mentioned his mum. The cowboy-booted crowd were pleased.
Mr Perdue won the Republican primary runoff with 50.9% of the vote, carrying Atlanta and its surrounding counties. The two men’s support split across the “gnat line”, a part-proverbial, part-geological division separating north Georgia, which generally went for Mr Perdue, a former head of the sports brand Reebok, from south, which preferred Mr Kingston, a tried and tested politician.
Mr Perdue’s victory was something of a surprise. The polls had predicted that Mr Kingston would win. So did all of the more than a dozen academics consulted by Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Centre for Politics, before the race. Mr Kingston was supported by the Republican establishment and the Chamber of Commerce, but Mr Perdue won the day by touting his CEO credentials and status as a political outsider (though he is a cousin of Georgia’s previous governor). On policy, there was little to choose between the two men, who are both staunch conservatives.
WASHINGTON — Now that David Perdue has emerged as Georgia’s Republican Senate nominee with his runoff victory, the race is shaping up as a battle of two candidates pitching themselves as Washington outsiders: Mr. Perdue, a businessman caricatured by Democrats as a heartless fat cat, and Michelle Nunn, painted by Republicans as a liberal masquerading as a moderate.
The contest, which will be one of the most closely watched races of 2014 and one of few where Democrats have hopes of taking a Republican-held seat, could determine control of the Senate. It will play out in a Republican-leaning state where Democrats, citing shifting demographics and an influx of minority voters, believe they can make inroads.
“Republicans just can’t afford to lose it,” said Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, “and Democrats really need to win it.”
That signals an expensive and nasty race, with millions of dollars in spending from outside groups expected.
“You have two outsiders here, people who’ve never held political office before, but the experience advantage actually goes to Perdue because he had to fight through,” Mr. Black said. “Michelle Nunn has been running as Democrat-lite — very lite. So this is going to force her to explain why she’s a Democrat and what policies she supports.”
David Perdue beat Rep. Jack Kingston in Georgia’s GOP Senate runoff Tuesday with just under 51% of the vote. He will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the fall, and Democrats think Ms. Nunn has a shot, even though Georgia is a deep red state that President Obama lost by eight percentage points in 2012.
“There’s a simple formula for winning as a Democrat in Georgia: project moderation, raise lots of cash, and catch a break with a vulnerable opponent—and Michelle Nunn’s got all three in spades,” Democratic strategist Christy Setzer told the Washington Times this week. “She’s an independent with more ties to the Bushes than the Obamas, she’s got a family name that resonates as moderate and independent, and her Republican opponents have shown serious problems on the trail. I wouldn’t be surprised if more polls show her ahead going into November.”
Ms. Setzer may be overly optimistic, but it’s true that Democrats got the long, bloody Republican primary battle that they wanted. Not much policy daylight separated Messrs. Perdue and Kingston—the top two finishers in the May primary—and personal attacks dominated the runoff race. Mr. Perdue, a former corporate CEO, campaigned as an outsider and accused Mr. Kingston, an 11-term congressman from the Savannah area, of being a career politician.