Georgia Democrats may finally have a candidate for next year's Senate race to succeed Republican Saxby Chambliss. Michelle Nunn, an Atlanta businesswoman and the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn, is "actively preparing" for a Senate campaign, the Hill reports:
A recent poll by Better Georgia, a progressive group, found that Nunn would perform competitively against the three Republican congressmen in the race (Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, and Phil Gingrey). The poll also showed Nunn eight points ahead of the latest Republican to join the race, Karen Handel (though the poll was conducted before Handel entered the race).
A Nunn run could be a boon for Democrats looking to be competitive statewide in Georgia, which is still a solidly conservative state but may be moderating as the population becomes more diverse. (In 2012, for instance, Mitt Romney's second smallest margin of victory was in Georgia, just seven points.) As a white Democrat with Atlanta business connections and a popular last name, Nunn might be able to position herself as a moderate in the mold of her father. And as one Republican observer from Georgia puts it, the Atlanta media will be "rooting for her."
That being said, ever since 2002, when Chambliss defeated Max Cleland for the Senate and Sonny Perdue won the governor's race, Democrats haven't been able to win a major statewide race in Georgia. The closest the party came to doing so was in 2008, when higher turnout among Georgia's significant black population that year gave Democrats a boost. Chambliss ran just three points ahead of his Democratic challenger and was forced into a runoff, which he won handily.