Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, will run for the Senate next year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
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.
The AJC's Jim Galloway asked Nunn several questions about current policy issues, including Obamacare. The Democrat did not say she would support repealing the law, proposing to change it instead. "It's difficult for small businesses," Nunn told Galloway. "I think there are things that are not working with ACA [the Affordable Care Act]. That's something that needs to be changed."
Nunn also said she favors gay marriage on a personal level and agrees with the Supreme Court decision to leave decisions on same-sex marriage laws up to the states.
Nunn, who will be stepping down as the CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, is the first major Democrat to enter the race, and she joins a crowded field of Republican candidates. Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston are running along with former secretary of state Karen Handel for the GOP nomination in what is expected to be a hotly contested race.
Handel, in an email to supporters, focused on Nunn's support for Barack Obama, who remains unpopular among Georgia's Republican and some white Democratic voters. Here's an excerpt:
Today, Michelle Nunn, President Obama's liberal, handpicked candidate is entering the race for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat. Earlier this summer, she and President Obama helped raise money for Democrats at a fundraiser here in Atlanta. In the Senate, she would be another vote for Harry Reid's liberal agenda.
Yesterday, in her first interview of the campaign, she refused to support a repeal of Obamacare. Georgia deserves a Senator who will put Georgia first, not President Obama and his liberal policies.
The email included a photo of Nunn standing next to Obama.
But will attacking Nunn's relationship with the president help or hurt Republicans? In 2012, Mitt Romney won Georgia by fewer than eight percentage points, one of the lowest margins of victory among the states Romney won. The state remains solidly Republican (all of its statewide elected officials are Republicans), but demographic changes with the influx of Hispanics suggest Democrats may be able to compete statewide in the next few cycles.