A new poll of registered Georgia Republican primary voters shows businessman David Perdue leading his fellow GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate, with congressman Jack Kingston in second. Perdue gets 29 percent support, according to the Survey USA poll, while Kingston gets 19 percent. Three other candidates are effectively tied for third: congressman Phil Gingrey (12 percent), congressman Paul Broun (11 percent), and former secretary of state Karen Handel (10 percent).
Most early polls indicated the GOP primary to succeed retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss was a toss-up ahead of the May 20 primary. But Perdue, a first-time candidate and the cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue, has opened up the largest lead of any candidate so far. Because of the crowded field, no candidate is likely to earn 50 percent, and the top-two candidates will proceed to a July 22 runoff.
The Democratic nomination, meanwhile, looks likely to go to Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn. The poll shows her with 48 percent support against three other candidates.
Georgia's is one of the few open Senate seats Republicans are defending in 2014 and is considered one of the best opportunities for Democrats to gain a seat. The Survey USA poll did not compare Nunn to any of the Republican candidates, but one recent poll found her leading each one.