Georgia Senate Race 2014: ABC News' '14 For 14'

PHOTO: Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn makes brief remarks during the presentation of the 5,000th "Points of Light" Foundation award with President Barack Obama in the White House in Washington, DC, July 15, 2013.

ABC News' "14 For 14" project is documenting 14 races that matter between now and November. This page will be updated throughout the year. See the full list of 2014 midterm election contests the ABC News political team is tracking.

THE PLAYERS

Michelle Nunn
Democrat
Non-profit CEO, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga.
Age: 47 (born Nov. 16, 1966)

David Perdue
Republican
Former CEO of Dollar General and cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Age: 64 (born: December 10, 1949)

THE STAKES

Democrats are hanging on for dear life in the South, but they hope to have found an unexpected opportunity in the Peach State. The race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., will test whether Democrats can survive there, and it could help determine which party controls the Senate in 2015.

Republicans endured a chaotic seven-way primary and an intensely negative runoff that extended their in-fighting for an extra two months. Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue, emerged from that July 22 runoff as the party’s nominee, after he and rival Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., saturated Georgia’s airwaves with negative TV ads. Perdue has run as a political outsider with business experience, and while Kingston attacked all the predictable downsides of a resume speckled with corporate leadership positions--lost jobs, a bailout--Perdue showed durability as a candidate and weathered the attacks. General-election polling released after the primary showed Perdue holding a lead over his Democratic rival.

Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee, has a few things working in her favor: The daughter of well-respected former Sen. Sam Nunn, she’s a member of a Georgia political dynasty and she has the freedom to raise serious cash. She has the help of the network of deep pockets she cultivated as head of George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light organization, the Democratic women’s group, EMILY’s List, and even some of her dad’s old Republican friends, such as former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., and former Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind. Her campaign has faced one snag already, as The National Review published a leaked campaign strategy memo that revealed strategists’ concerns that some voters could see her as a “lightweight,” “too liberal,” or “not a real Georgian.”

THE OUTLOOK

Despite accelerating demographic and political changes that could eventually turn Georgia into a battleground state, Republicans still have the upper hand there. An extended primary saw an extra two months of negative ads focused on Perdue, while Nunn faced few attacks and aired positive ads about herself, but it’s unclear whether or not the long primary damaged Perdue as Democrats had hoped it would.

ABC NEWS RATING

Lean Republican

KEY DATES

November 4, 2014: General election

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