Nunn campaign defends early campaign memo
July 28th, 2014
03:45 PM ET
5 months ago

Nunn campaign defends early campaign memo

(CNN) – Georgia Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn's campaign is defending Monday an early campaign plan detailing challenges the U.S. Senate hopeful might face in courting voters and outreach strategy, after the internal memo was leaked.

Republicans have jumped on the document, obtained by the conservative National Review, as an effort by the Democrat's campaign to exploit voters, while Nunn's team is pushing back, underscoring that the document was "...a draft of a document that was written eight months ago" and was always subject to alternation.

"Like all good plans, they change" campaign manager Jeff DiSantis said in a statement.

"But what hasn't changed and is all the more clear today is that Michelle's opponents are going to mischaracterize her work and her positions, and part of what we've always done is to prepare for the false things that are going to be said, DiSantis added.

Nunn is facing off in November against businessman David Perdue, who last week edged out longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the GOP Senate runoff. The winner in November will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

The 144-page memo, written in December, covers planning operations for the campaign. It describes possible pitfalls connecting with rural voters and also discusses the necessity to secure the Jewish donors as well as the importance of minority turn out.

Nunn's time running the charity Points of Light is also highlighted as an issue in the memo, given the organization's "grants to problematic entities" and "service awards to inmates, terrorists."

The organization gave $33,000 in donations to Islamic Relief USA, which is independent of, but has links to Islamic Relief Worldwide, an international organization that's been accused of ties to terrorist groups including Hamas.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Nunn's campaign has tried to "deceive voters and hide a candidate's true beliefs from public view."

"The hundred plus pages of Michelle Nunn's campaign plan reveals a deliberate effort to manipulate Georgia voters and hide the fact that Nunn's campaign is a proxy for the agenda of Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Ward Baker, the NRSC's political director, said in a statement.

"The entire Nunn plan is dirty, offensive, and emblematic of why voters are so disenchanted with politics."

Big bucks and political pedigree

Coverage of the leaked strategy, a rare view into a campaign's inner thoughts and concerns, could make Nunn's prospects a bit tougher, as she tries to follow in the footsteps of her father, Sam Nunn, who's a household name in Georgia after representing the state in the Senate for nearly a quarter century. One of the potential problems noted in the document is the possibility Nunn will be perceived as "not a 'real' Georgian," as she grew up mostly around Washington, D.C. while her father served in Congress.

Key races to watch in 2014

The battle in Georgia will now turn into a battle of big bucks. Nunn raked in nearly $3.5 million the past three months. Meanwhile, Perdue poured more than $3 million of his own money into his campaign during the primary. Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, is first cousins with former two-term governor Sonny Perdue.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

Democrats see Georgia and Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a challenging re-election, as the only two states in which they hope to flip Republican-held seats.

Georgia in play?

Georgia has been a GOP stronghold recently: It's been 14 years since a Democrat won a statewide gubernatorial or U.S. Senate election, and 22 years since the party carried the state in a presidential contest. But Democrats think Georgia's changing demographics are putting the state in play.

The most recent nonpartisan polling suggested a close contest right now.

Game on in pivotal Georgia Senate race

"I think Georgia is going to be a very competitive race between two very well-funded candidates," said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor for the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, another top campaign handicapper. "This race won't be won or lost because of money. Republicans have a structural advantage in the state but we have to see how Perdue and Nunn perform as the heat gets turned up and the lights get brighter in the race,"

With the GOP primary finally over, the general election race will now get hotter. The big question is whether Nunn is ready for the soaring temperatures.

"Nunn has gotten a free ride and remains somewhat untested when it comes to taking hits and answering charges," said Jennifer Duffy of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, another top political handicapper.

"Perdue is now somewhat battle-tested from the primary, but we have to see how Nunn performs when the heavy attacks come her way- and they are coming," Gonzales added.


Filed under: 2014 • Georgia • Michelle Nunn
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    One word " DarrellIssa ".

    July 28, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    What happened to the Dem. Party in Ga. & the South ? Where did all those whites guys go ? Isn't that what LBJ said would happen when he signed the 1964 Voting Rights Act & the 1965 Civil Rights Act ? WHY did all those white guys that left the Dem party in the South leave ?

    July 28, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Barack Ogona

    Georgia Voters are smarter than you think Ms. Nunn – you grew up in Yankee-ville

    July 28, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Tony D

    "Nunn has gotten a free ride and remains somewhat untested when it comes to taking hits and answering charges," said Jennifer Duffy of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, another top political handicapper.
    --

    Of course she has gotten a free ride! The left wing press always props up their chosen candidates, just look at Obama. And of course if you attack a woman candidate, well that just can't be done because then you are then part of the ficticious left wing war on woman. See how the left wing media controls this process and manipulates you?

    July 28, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    Dem: make plans and execute a campaign based on political views
    GOP: try to snipe, uncover embarrassing info., use innuendo and emotional hype

    July 28, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Tony D

    "Nunn has gotten a free ride and remains somewhat untested when it comes to taking hits and answering charges," said Jennifer Duffy of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, another top political handicapper.
    -

    Of course she has gotten a free ride! The left wing press always props up their chosen candidates, just look at Obama. And of course if you attack a woman candidate, well that just can't be done because then you are then part of the ficticious left wing war on woman. See how the left wing media controls this process and manipulates you?
    =======================================================================
    "Why did you sit down and come up with a viable campaign strategy? WHY? WHY?"

    July 28, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Pandamonius

    @SilenceDoGood
    GOP: try to snipe, uncover embarrassing info., use innuendo and emotional hype
    ==========================
    Don't forget breaking into nursing homes to take photos of opponents' relatives, and complaining that black people voted.

    July 28, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. ChrisM

    To bad repubs, you lose again., You know, you try so hard and you still lose. Suggest you change your game plan

    July 28, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Tigger

    Funny how Democrats always have to figure out a way to disguise who they are and who their friends are to get elected.

    July 28, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Marc Weissburg

    anyone who thinks Nunn would be significantly different then either of the Rs currently serving neither knows her father, nor understands there is not a dime's worth of difference between the Ds and Rs in anyway that counts.

    July 28, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The people need to take back the Senate from Obama and his puppet Reid.

    July 28, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Pander Bear

    Well since Perdue can't run on anything other than " I sure am darn tootin an outsider" his campaign will have to resort to slander. Pretty much the GOP playbook.

    July 28, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    I doubt very many people would get elected to office without developing a campaign plan including groups they should target. Kinda like you don't hype a Cadillac to folks on a Ford Focus budget. Throw some more spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks. Don't these guys have anything better to do......like their jobs.

    July 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |