With Perdue win in Georgia, key Senate race shapes up

With Perdue win in Georgia, key Senate race shapes up

Georgia has quite the Senate race on its hands.

After an exhaustive, two-part primary, Republicans chose businessman David Perdue over longtime Savannah Rep. Jack Kingston in a close race Tuesday, setting up a general election face-off between two self-proclaimed Washington outsiders waging their first political campaigns.

The Peach State has leaned Republican for years, at both the presidential and Senate levels. Republicans hope to capitalize on that history and the nationally favorable climate. But this race is shaping up to be one of the most contested and costly of the midterms, as the election to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss represents the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a seat — and protect their vulnerable majority in the upper chamber.

Both sides have already staked their claims in this race, which each has portrayed as an Obama-Romney rematch. Republicans hope to tie the Democratic nominee, Michelle Nunn, to President Obama, who lost the state twice and is unpopular there, and to Senate Democrats seen as part of Washington dysfunction and overreach. Democrats have rushed to characterize Perdue as “Mitt Romney Lite” — an out-of-touch corporate turnaround specialist whose business practices left thousands of Americans without jobs.

Democrats have placed their hopes of flipping the seat (and, to some extent, their dreams of turning the state blue) in Nunn, the former Points of Light Institute executive and daughter of the popular former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn. The Democrat has enjoyed several months of a virtually opposition-free campaigning, raising money and traveling the state while Perdue and Kingston battled each other for the GOP nod.

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