Businessman David Perdue pulled out a narrow upset win over 11-term Congressman Jack Kingston in the Georgia GOP Senate primary runoff last night, reconfirming the anti-incumbency trend against business-as-usual politicians and bitterly disappointing much of the national media who had hoped to continue their Tea Party vs. Establishment meme. Perdue is a former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok and cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue. The Tea Partiers in the race were finished early, not making the runoff election. Democrat candidate Michell Nunn, daughter of legendary Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, is also deprived of her “sole outsider” stance in the general election. Ms. Nunn is now expected to take a populist stance, touting her previous experience in the not-for-profit community service sector against Perdue’s private sector history.
Ms. Nunn has been one of the most prolific fundraisers among inexperienced candidates on the Democrat side this cycle. As against that, Mr. Perdue is wealthy and can throw millions of his own money into the race if he wishes. RCP average of polls has Perdue and Nunn dead even at 42%, and calls the race a tossup. I anticipate seeing some movement in those numbers now the primaries are over and the candidates known. Ms. Nunn, running to replace retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss, probably represents the D’s best shot at a pick up in this cycle. I am distrustful of polls before the candidates in the race are known, but things should firm up a bit now as we go forward. Right off the bat, I’d call it lean Red.