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Sam Nunn’s Daughter Running for His Old Seat

michelle-nunn-running-for-senate

Michelle Nunn is running for her dad’s old Senate seat.

AJC (“Michelle Nunn declares herself a U.S. Senate candidate“):

Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, Michelle Nunn declared herself a Democratic candidate in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate, the very seat once held by her father.

The formal announce will come Tuesday, when she files the official paperwork. “I’m excited about it,” Nunn said in an exclusive interview. “I’ve learned that you can’t wait for somebody else to do it. Everybody has an individual role and a responsibility to contribute where they can. This seems like a way for me to contribute.”

Nunn, 46, said she intends to make the nation’s finances and deficit reduction a key focus of her campaign, picking up where U.S. Saxby Chambliss leaves off. Chambliss, a Republican who retires next year after serving two terms, has played a central role in the so far unsuccessful “Gang of Eight” effort to craft a deal to reduce the $17 trillion federal debt.

Nunn is a first-time political candidate facing steep odds. Even so, her entry has been anticipated for months, and is sure to turn Georgia into a 2014 battleground state, unleashing millions of dollars in campaign contributions and super PAC expenditures.

Republicans hold every statewide office in Georgia, but understand that the state’s

Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, Michelle Nunn declared herself a Democratic candidate in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate, the very seat once held by her father.

The formal announce will come Tuesday, when she files the official paperwork. “I’m excited about it,” Nunn said in an exclusive interview. “I’ve learned that you can’t wait for somebody else to do it. Everybody has an individual role and a responsibility to contribute where they can. This seems like a way for me to contribute.”

Nunn, 46, said she intends to make the nation’s finances and deficit reduction a key focus of her campaign, picking up where U.S. Saxby Chambliss leaves off. Chambliss, a Republican who retires next year after serving two terms, has played a central role in the so far unsuccessful “Gang of Eight” effort to craft a deal to reduce the $17 trillion federal debt.

Nunn is a first-time political candidate facing steep odds. Even so, her entry has been anticipated for months, and is sure to turn Georgia into a 2014 battleground state, unleashing millions of dollars in campaign contributions and super PAC expenditures.

Republicans hold every statewide office in Georgia, but understand that the state’s rapidly changing demographics ultimately threaten that hold. To Democrats, the Georgia contest represents one of only two potential Senate pick-ups in 2014. The other is Kentucky. The race here could determine whether Democrats retain control of the chamber.

Nunn isn’t the only Democratic candidate in the Senate contest. Branko Radulovacki, an Atlanta physician, has already announced. Former state Sen. Steen Miles of DeKalb County is considering a run. But Nunn, with a last name that bespeaks Georgia centrism, is the candidate most Democrats with money will bet on.

ultimately threaten that hold. To Democrats, the Georgia contest represents one of only two potential Senate pick-ups in 2014. The other is Kentucky. The race here could determine whether Democrats retain control of the chamber.

Nunn isn’t the only Democratic candidate in the Senate contest. Branko Radulovacki, an Atlanta physician, has already announced. Former state Sen. Steen Miles of DeKalb County is considering a run. But Nunn, with a last name that bespeaks Georgia centrism, is the candidate most Democrats with money will bet on.

Nunn has spent her entire career in the non-profit sector, joining Hands on Atlanta right out of college and soon becoming its executive director. The organization merged in 2007 with Points of Light, the volunteer organization created by former President George H.W. Bush, and she has been CEO of the combined organization ever since.

I lived in Georgia for a year back in the late 1990s but have little sense of its current politics. Presumably, the “rapidly changing demographics” to which Jim Galloway refers is the huge influx of people from outside the state drawn in by the jobs magnet that is the greater Atlanta area. While friendlier to Democrats than neighboring Alabama and South Carolina, though, it’s a solid Republican state. I’m not sure that a political novice, even one with the Nunn name, has much of a shot at the seat running as a Democrat.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. jeff sexton says:

    The reporter is Jim Galloway. One of the best political reporters in the State.

    As for the demographic changes, while there is certainly the incoming people as one aspect, there is also the fact that the minority birthrate in Ga is outstripping the white birthrate, and indeed we are already seeing the leading edges of this in the schools there.

    Given that the GOP is largely the Party of Old White Men and tends to royally screw up any attempt at changing that, these birtjrate differences will bite tjem in the ass even in Ga within the next decade or two.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. James Joyner says:

    @jeff sexton: Fixed! And, interesting on the birthrates. Still, Georgia is 63% white and 31% black as of 2012; it’ll take a while to change voting patterns if race is the main factor.

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  3. jeff sexton says:

    @James Joyner: Another thing to note: In Ga, if you can win the Atlanta metro big enough, the rest of the State really doesnt matter for Statewide or even POTIS races, and the Atlanta Metro is already close to Majority-Minority. Cobb, Cherokee, Douglas, and Forsyth counties being most of what keeps it from being so – so far. Even that is changing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  4. Jim says:

    Alas another candidate whose best recommendation is that he/she is the son/daughter of prior office holder.

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  5. Anderson says:

    The decisive question may be, will the Repubs nominate a nut job?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. al-Ameda says:

    A warm six-pack of Bud Lite would be an improvement over Saxby Chambliss.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Jeff Sexton says:

    @Anderson: So far, most indications are that they will. Of 9 candidates running, only 1 or MAYBE 2 are not far right nut jobs. One (Gingrey) backed Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, among other sins. Another (Handel) got fired from Komen after she ordered Komen to stop “funding Planned Parenthood” – even though the Komen money never paid for a single abortion from PP. Then there are the even weirder wackjobs like Paul Broun, whose very first endorser in this race lost a libel lawsuit he filed against a woman who claimed he was a child molester.

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  8. RGardner says:

    Noblesse oblige.

    Guess what, the children of folks that are involved in civic events are more likely to run for office than the children of those that don’t care about politics. They grow up with the dinner table talking about politics.

    My district’s city councilman is the son of a former city councilman. He makes his own decisions, and is not a continuation of his father’s policy.

    Also trial runs are often useful (and occasionally successful) to get the necessary machinery of running a campaign. Or do decide to give up the dream.

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