Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Michelle Nunn losing the Super PAC war

Never mind the polls in the race for U.S. Senate. Democrat Michelle Nunn is losing one of the more important modern measurements of candidate potency: Super PAC support.

While Nunn's campaign has been wildly successful at raising money, her allied Super PAC, Georgians Together, had brought in a mere $70,000 as of the end of June. Keith Mason, treasurer of that organization, sent us some spending figures over the weekend, which we have adjusted slightly. Here's what has been spent on Nunn's behalf on TV in Georgia, and by whom, since the July 22 runoff:

-- $4,540, by People for the American Way;

The Nunn total: $847,528

Here's what is being spent on behalf of Republican David Perdue:

-- $558,463, by the American Chemistry Council;

-- $1,014,ooo by Ending Spending;

-- $2,601,800, by the National Republican Senatorial Committee;

The Perdue total: $4,174,443.

That's a nearly 5:1  spending advantage enjoyed by Perdue -- none of it involving his own money.

Update: An earlier version of this post had listed Ending Spending's buy at around $609,000, but Ending Spending's Brian Baker pointed out that this did not include the Super PAC's big buy the week of the runoff -- as well as other spending it has done on web ads and such. In all, Ending Spending has spent $1.3 million this year attacking Nunn, and Baker said the PAC intends to keep its foot on the gas.

Also, the NRSC figure is how much time the group has reserved over the next several weeks -- it has not all been spent yet.

Mason had included $161,784 in spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Perdue's behalf, but that appears to be delayed reporting of GOP primary expenditures on behalf of U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston. However, the total figure doesn't include $195,000 worth of mailers just issued on Perdue's behalf by the National Rifle Association.

Nunn is being slammed on Georgia television as a tool of President Barack Obama, Mason said. "And yet she's not getting any national support." Instead, she's tapping her own seed corn.

One can't help wondering if Nunn hasn't been hurt by her own challenge to Perdue, to eschew support from outside pots of money. (Perdue has declined the challenge.)

Mason said Georgians Together hasn't spent anything yet -- not that $7o,000 gets you much. "We haven't spent anything, other than on lawyers and accountants," he said. "But I'm hopeful we'll be able to send something soon."

The Democratic National Committee meets in downtown Atlanta beginning Thursday. You can bet this will be one of the topics of discussion.


Conservative provocateur Erick Erickson says he'll have Texas Gov. Rick Perry on his WSB Radio program in the five o'clock hour today. Perry has been indicted on local charges of "abuse of official capacity" and "coercion of a public official," involving a local prosecutor with a drinking problem. Even liberals are raising their eyebrows. From the AJC's own Jay Bookman:

This is the kind of controversy that voters, not jurors, ought to judge. Perry may not come out of this looking like a stalwart defender of public integrity, and it ensures a close look at other aspects of his 15-year career as Texas governor. But arguing that he's a felon? No, I don't see it.


The Ice Bucket Challenge has caught on with Georgia politicos.

The fundraiser for ALS research has become a social media craze, which meant it was only a matter of time until the candidates got on board. GOP Senate nominee David Perdue, his foe Michelle Nunn and Democratic gubernatorial contender Jason Carter all took the plunge. Nunn even got her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, and her former NBA star pal Dikembe Mutombo to join in -- with Mutombo having the best reaction.

But our favorite was from Libertarian Andrew Hunt, also running for governor, simply because he called out one of the Insiders to do the same. (Another of your Insiders already has.)


We're kind of hoping that another trend will catch on, too. Gov. Nathan Deal's aides promised back in April to release his tax returns after a bizarre confrontation with GOP challenger David Pennington. Democrat Jason Carter's camp said it would do the same.

With less than three months to go until election day, neither side has revealed them. Both campaigns seem to be waiting for the other to unleash them first. Here's to hoping we'll soon see an end to this détente.


Michelle Nunn had an interesting moment in Jesup last week. Her visit to the south Georgia town Thursday came shortly after a fire claimed much of a city block. From the Jesup Press-Sentinel:

U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn was not repeating campaign points as she walked down North West Broad Street in Jesup Thursday afternoon.

Instead, she was asking questions about the fire that had claimed the entire quarter-block to her right the week before.

Nunn, the Democratic candidate for Saxby Chambliss’ Senate seat, and her entourage had just met with approximately 50 local dignitaries and supporters at the Jesup Depot.

“I really do feel confident this community’s going to emerge stronger,” she told her listeners in regard to the fire.


David Perdue, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, hit the road with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black over the weekend, visiting Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley to declare his intention to serve on the Agriculture Committee if elected. The man Perdue is trying to replace, Saxby Chambliss, has long served on the committee and was once its chairman.

Update 1 p.m.: The Nunn campaign attacked Perdue for the event Monday by pointing out that he said in a GOP debate that he would have voted against the Farm Bill, even as Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson were for it. Thus, Team Nunn claims, Perdue engaged in "hypocrisy" when it comes to supporting Georgia farmers.

Many conservatives said the bill did not do enough to cut the food stamp program and wanted the farm subsidy and nutrition program pieces to be permanently severed.


The Libertarian Party of Georgia is blaming America's war on drugs for the explosive situation in Ferguson. Doug Craig, the state party’s chairman, tied the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown to the killing of Kathryn Johnston and wounding of Habersham County baby “Bou Bou.”

“The war on drugs continues to be the main catalyst for the abuse of power and excessive force we see in the streets of this country and state,” Craig said in a press release Friday.


U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, got his turn in the spotlight this weekend, delivering the weekly Republican address. The topic: How Harry Reid and those pesky Democratic senators are blocking House Republican proposals to boost the economy.


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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.