Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
The primary runoff Tuesday night confirmed that Republican businessman David Perdue is Democrat Michelle Nunn’s opponent for the U.S. Senate seat when Perdue defeated 11-term U.S. Representative Jack Kingston by about 51 to 49 percent. Knowing who she will now face, Nunn stopped by a fairly-crowded Little Kings Shuffle Club in downtown Athens Wednesday afternoon to talk more about the election.
Like Perdue, Nunn hails from a career outside the political realm. (Neither is too far removed, though; Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn [D-GA], and Perdue is the cousin of former Republican governor Sonny Perdue.) Nunn was previously the CEO of Points of Light, a nonprofit company, and on Wednesday she certainly embodied the civil service, grassroots attitude one might expect from a lady of her position.
“I’ve seen what happens when people really do bring their best selves, and entrepreneurial spirit to what can seem like intractable problems. And we know that is literally not happening in Washington,” said Nunn. “That’s what this campaign is going to be about.”
Nunn went on to list several issues her campaign (and possible tenure in Washington) will focus on, like supporting economic conditions for job and private-sector growth, simplifying and reforming the tax code, comprehensively and bipartisanly reforming immigration policy and investing in education, specifically early childhood education.
“Ultimately, this election is going to be won based upon the passion and enthusiasm and inspiration of people like you that really believe it’s time for Georgia to create a change. Y’all think it’s time for Georgia to create change?” she asked the crowd, who responded with hearty applause and whoops.
Since Tuesday evening decided that her opponent for the Senate seat would be Perdue rather than Kingston, Nunn offered a few words on how she would be adjusting her campaign accordingly. Though they both are sort-of outsiders from Washington, Nunn believes their records are very different.
“My record is around building communities, lifting people up, trying to make a difference, a demonstrated track record of working with folks from the other side,” said Nunn, noting that she ran former President George H. W. Bush’s organization for seven years. “We’re going to continue to talk about how we need to change the dysfunction in Washington through civility and collaboration and trying to work together. And I think that’s going to be a real point of contrast.”
“The only way of creating change in Washington is to send different kinds of leaders to Washington,” Nunn also said.
Wednesday the campaign sent out an email at 7:55 a.m., asking supporters to give $7.55, in an effort to raise money, obviously, but also to mobilize a communal, grassroots movement behind Nunn. According to the candidate herself, she issued a challenge to Perdue to keep the nondisclosed campaign donations out of Georgia, but she said he declined. About 40,000 people have contributed to her campaign, whereas Perdue has about 2,000.
At the close of her speech, Nunn cited Georgia’s state motto: “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation,” as values her campaign hopes to amplify and carry forward to November.