ERICKSON: Off to the races

May 2, 2014 

May 20 is approaching. Our primaries will soon be over and the real races begin, except for the inevitable Senate runoff. Jason Carter for governor and Michelle Nunn for Senate have opposition, but their opponents are not viable. They will have no runoffs.

Gov. Nathan Deal will not have a runoff either despite two primary challengers. Deal, most nonpartisan polls show, is even ahead of Jason Carter. But, troubling for Deal, he is below 50 percent. That is never a good sign for an incumbent and one reason the race is more toss up than a probable Republican victory.

In the Senate race, there is still much unknown. If the race were held today, David Perdue and Jack Kingston would get into a runoff. Polls show Karen Handel, who I have endorsed, with upward momentum, but early voting has begun. She has 19 days to close the gap.

David Perdue is a businessman and turnaround artist. Though an outsider in politics, he has been around the edges of politics. My initial assessment of him may be too harsh, but I have a personal bias against CEOs in the Senate. The overwhelming majority of them tend to grow in office and cut deals that tend to raise taxes. I have probably let my own biases against that type of senator form my opinion of Perdue more than letting Perdue stand on his own record. Friends of mine who know Perdue assure me he is a solid Christian and would be a good conservative.

Jack Kingston is one of the nicest men in Congress. He is also an excellent politician. Kingston is one of those guys who makes you think he is your best friend even if you have never met him before. He is a terrific social conservative and in line with the majority of Georgians on those issues. My hesitation with supporting Jack, and most people call him Jack, is his fiscal votes. An appropriator, Jack has been running ads about his tightfisted ways. He still drives his very old Buick Roadmaster. I just wish Jack had been as tight with our money as with his own.

Karen Handel is a good friend and I am happy to support her. It is true she does not have a college degree. But then the overwhelming majority of the Congress, currently at 11 percent popularity, does have college degrees. From a Republican perspective, Handel would be the best candidate to neutralize the “war on women” nonsense from the Democrats. Growing up in difficult circumstances, Handel took charge of her life and turned it around. She wound up working in the White House, ran a Chamber of Commerce, chaired the Fulton County Commission, and became Secretary of State. I have a college and graduate degree and her resume is far more impressive than mine or most of yours.

I hated to decide between Karen and Paul Broun. He is a good friend and good man. But Broun has struggled to gain traction. He says he is running a grassroots campaign. But to penetrate the Atlanta market requires money Broun does not have. A doctor by training, Broun is best known for some of the things he has said on the campaign trail. He would spend a general election on defense.

Phil Gingrey is the last viable Republican. He is at the bottom of the heap in polling. His campaign staff left him and he has struggled to rebuild. He will not be the nominee. But with money in the bank, he could deny someone else the nomination.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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