Former President George H.W. Bush, who founded the Points of Light Foundation (PoL) during his administration in the late 1980s, has endorsed a Republican in the race for an open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia against the former head of the PoL.
The 41st president, who celebrated his 90th birthday last week with a parachute jump, sent a fundraising letter on behalf of a joint fundraising committee calling on Republican voters to send a GOP candidate back to the Senate.
Though the letter sent via the Senate Battleground Fund didn’t mention either Republican by name and only referred to Michelle Nunn as the Democratic nominee, it did implore voters “put Georgia in the GOP column come Election Night 2014,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire.
Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, easily won the Democratic primary. She founded the Hands On Network, a network of volunteer organizations, which in 2007 merged with The Points of Light Institute, founded by Bush. Nunn has been on leave from her position as president and CEO of Atlanta, Ga.-based Points of Light to run for Senate.
Nunn’s Senate campaign did not return a message seeking comment.
David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston will compete in a July 22 runoff for the Republican nomination after neither captured 50 percent of the vote in a crowded field during Georgia’s primary on May 20. The first poll after the May primary, by Rasmussen Reports, showed Nunn with a 5 to 6 percent lead, over either Kingston or Perdue.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) announced he would not seek re-election and while most pundits see the Peach state leaning Republican, it’s still one area where Democrats could pick up a seat. The Rothenberg Political Report classified the Georgia seat as “Republican Favored” — not quite “Currently Safe Republican” but also not quite “Lean Republican” — and as of this month sees the GOP gaining anywhere from four to eight seats.
The Georgia seat is among a number of contested open seats where incumbents are retiring or not seeing re-election. In Montana, former Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced he would retire at the end of his term before stepping down to become ambassador to China. Also announcing their retirements were Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dr. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).
Democrats currently hold 53 seats, and caucus with two Independents, in the Senate to the Republicans’ 45. Republicans would need to win six seats in November’s election to take control of the 100-member Senate. Of the 36 seats up in this year’s midterms, 15 are held by Republicans, including Georgia, and 21 are held by Democrats. About 21 seats are considered “in play” by The Rothenberg Political Report.