Senate races

Michelle Nunn actively preparing for Senate campaign in Georgia

Businesswoman Michele Nunn is actively preparing for a Senate campaign in Georgia and Democrats there expect an announcement early this summer, according to two sources with knowledge of the plans.

“I don’t think she’ll make an announcement until the beginning of the summer, mid-June or early July. There’s no urgency and she has to resolve some things with the charity [Nunn is in charge of]. But she is running,” said one source close to Nunn, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about private discussions.

Another senior Georgia Democrat said the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has called a few key Democrats in the state in recent days to tell them Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), was definitely running for the seat. 

While plans could stil lchange, both sources say Nunn intends to wait until after a major early June event being hosted by her charitable organization, Points of Light, to make any announcement. 

“A lot of it relates to extracting herself from the charity. We know she’s going to make a formal announcement,” said the source.

Nunn has emerged as Democrats’ top choice for the seat in recent weeks, and began moving towards a run shortly after Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) announced he’d retire at the end of his term. 

Democrats are excited about her profile as a female administrator of the largest organization in the country dedicated to volunteer service.

Nunn attended a DSCC fundraiser in Atlanta last Sunday headlined by President Obama, and worked the room hard, making sure to meet and greet everyone there. 

According to sources, she also told a number of people in the room that day that she was running, and the only question was when she would announce.

At the event, Nunn had a brief conversation with DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who was in attendance, and was included in a small group of VIPs in attendance who had a chance to meet Obama before the fundraiser.

The source close to Nunn says she’s got a “lot of local and national leaders who are informing her about how a campaign should be run,” and while there have been no decisions on campaign staff at this point, she’s “putting the team together.”

That includes heavy-hitting EMILY’s List, a group that backs pro-abortion-rights Democratic women. The organization could help her in a big way with national fundraising.

“Michelle Nunn has an incredible story and a strong track record of leadership in Georgia,” group spokeswoman Marcy Stech told The Hill via email. “The EMILY’s List community is excited about her potential run.”

Nunn has been Democrats’ main focus for the seat since Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) decided against a bid in early May.

Democrats are hopeful they can make Georgia competitive this cycle, citing it as their best opportunity to play offense in a year where they’re mostly defending seats.

Their best hope is if a crowded Republican primary field produces a flawed nominee in the GOP-leaning state. 

Republicans already in the race include Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R). 

Businessman David Perdue (R), the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), is also expected to run, and businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, who owns the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, is also said to be looking at a bid.

Sources close to Barrow previously told The Hill that, if he was to run, he wanted to make sure he would have a clear primary. Nunn’s bullishness about the race may have contributed to his decision not to run.

Democrats in the state expressed excitement about Nunn’s potential bid.

“We’d be very excited to have her in the race. We expect a decision in the next few weeks,” said Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon. “Michelle is going to present a brilliant contrast to anybody the Republicans have running in the spring … She’s a female, a proven administrator from a good family. We believe she can clearly win. She has all the tools to win this race in the general election.”

Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) said Nunn “could be an incredible voice” for Georgia.  

“Michele is one of the smartest civic minds I’ve ever known and she’s persistently demonstrated not only a capacity for doing good work but a willingness to invest wholly to try to improve society,” said Abrams, a friend of Nunn’s.

Tags John Barrow Michael Bennet Paul Broun Phil Gingrey Saxby Chambliss

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