Nunn Wins Primary, Faces General Election Battle

May 21, 2014       Mark Hrywna      

Michelle Nunn easily won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia as expected yesterday but will have to wait for a July runoff to determine her Republican opponent in November’s general election. With Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) retiring after two terms, the seat could have an impact on which party maintains control after the midterm elections.

Nunn, who has taken a leave of absence from her position as CEO of the Atlanta, Ga.-based Points of Light, was expected to win the nomination and garnered 75 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing three lesser-known candidates for the Democratic nod.

On the Republican side, David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, will face off in a July 22 runoff as the top two vote-getters among five GOP candidates yesterday. Neither reached the required 50 percent of votes to avoid a runoff. Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General, garnered 31 percent with most of his support in the northern part of the state. Kingston, a Congressman from Savannah, got 26 percent, most of which came in the south.

Also in the Republican primary was Karen Handel, who two years ago was at the center of a funding dispute between Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood of America. The former Georgia Secretary of State finished third with 22 percent of the vote, ahead of U.S. Reps Phil Gingrey, 10 percent, and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, 9.6 percent.

Handel, who ran for governor in 2010, carried seven counties, including Fulton County and Gwinnett County, where she once served on the Board of Commissioners. Most of the state’s 159 counties went to either Kingston or Perdue. She joined Komen as senior vice president of advocacy in January 2011 before resigning a year later after the Planned Parenthood debacle.

The runoff is expected to benefit Nunn since Kingston and Perdue will have to spend time and money on another eight-week campaign but most polls have a Republican winning in November. At the same time, Democrats had hoped to face one of the more conservative Republican candidates come November, according to The New York Times.

Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, founded the Hands On Network, a network of volunteer organizations, which in 2007 merged with The Points of Light Foundation.