DUBLIN – — The last time top Georgia Democrats gathered for a party meeting, they huddled to replace a disgraced leader and carve a path forward in a Republican-controlled state. Their convention Saturday was a celebration of how far the party has come — and a reminder of the challenges looming in November.
This year’s middle Georgia gathering was designed to promote a full slate of candidates running for statewide office, headlined by two Democrats with name-brand legacies: Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter. Both offered some of their strongest attacks yet on their GOP rivals.
It was a festive event that featured flashy videos, shrieking yellow whistles, blaring music and circus-like glowsticks. The party was eager to roll out its six female candidates — five of whom are black — on the statewide ballot in hopes of drawing a contrast with the white men who make up the GOP slate.
The enthusiasm notwithstanding, Democrats acknowledge the tough sledding ahead. Republicans control every statewide office and commanding majorities in the state Legislature. GOP strategists believe their core supporters can overwhelm Democrats despite growing numbers of minority voters.
Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, has until now waged a largely positive campaign. But her rhetoric has sharpened significantly since Republican businessman David Perdue won the GOP nomination after his runoff victory last month.
She invoked Perdue’s leadership of Pillowtex, the failed North Carolina textile company that left thousands out of work, during her speech Saturday to her party faithful.
“To often, Mr. Perdue seems to have prospered while other people suffered,” she said, adding: “David Perdue’s real world does not include us.”