Georgia Republicans consider a countermeasure to Michelle Nunn | Political Insider | www.ajc.com

10
Aug

Georgia Republicans consider a countermeasure to Michelle Nunn | Political Insider | www.ajc.com

Less than a month after a Democrat with national fundraising possibilities entered the race for U.S. Senate, Republicans in the state Capitol have begun discussing a move that could keep their side of the contest from edging too far right – and thus increase GOP odds of holding onto Saxby Chambliss’ seat.

Here’s the idea that rose up at a meeting called last week by Gov. Nathan Deal and attended by House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp: Move next year’s primary vote to May 20, a spring-time date that would be the earliest in Georgia history.

That’s an important two weeks earlier than the June 3 date for congressional races ordered by a federal judge this summer — before the end of the school year and the beginning of vacation season.

Historically, primaries in Georgia have been conducted in mid-July or later, during the dog days when many families check out of their daily routines. A pre-Memorial Day primary would ensure a larger GOP turnout with a voting population more akin to a November general election, and less likely to be dominated by the GOP’s most fervent and conservative activists.

A more centrist audience, the thinking goes, would result in more tempered rhetoric – and not just among U.S. Senate candidates. With state School Superintendent John Barge considering a challenge, Deal could have two opponents looking to rip away the GOP nomination for governor.

Further, a mid-May primary runs directly counter to a push by some Georgia Republicans, which surfaced this year, to give activists a greater say by putting nominations in the hands of delegates to the party’s statewide, election-year conventions.

Michelle Nunn’s July entry into the U.S. Senate race was a Democratic bet that a tea party-fueled, mid-summer GOP primary would produce a hard-right candidate similar to Todd Akin, the Republican from Missouri whose 2012 Senate campaign blew up after he stated that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant.

via Georgia Republicans consider a countermeasure to Michelle Nunn | Political Insider | www.ajc.com.

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