Political Insider

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Clinton: Republicans used ISIS, Ebola fears to beat Nunn in Georgia

Hillary Clinton saw untapped potential in Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn and her failed 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

In her new book, "What Happened," she called Nunn and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan "two smart, talented, independent-minded candidates who should have had a good chance to win."

She continues:

"Both races were tight up until the end. But days before the election, a savvy Georgia political observer confided to me that he'd seen private polling that showed Nunn and other Democrats cratering. Republicans were using fears about ISIS and Ebola to scare people and raise questions about whether a Democrat, especially a woman, could really be tough enough on national security."

In the closing days of that race, Republican David Perdue backed an ad claiming that she "funded organizations linked to terrorists" while running Points of Light Foundation, a charity launched by former President George H.W. Bush.

She rebutted with an ad calling the GOP accusations a "terrible lie" and Bush's son, Neil, denounced it as "shameful."

Nunn also struggled with a response to the Ebola outbreak that raged in parts of Africa in the weeks before the vote. In mid-October, she shifted her stance to back a temporary travel ban to countries in West Africa besieged by the deadly virus, joining a stampede of Republican lawmakers calling for the restrictions.

Polls showed a tight race that could have required a runoff, but GOP analysts predicted outright Republican wins. The final result wasn't close: Perdue won by a 53-45 margin.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.