Early Cracks in Nunn’s Armor

Brandon Howell

9/14/2013 12:01:00 AM - Brandon Howell

The Democrats’ one best hope at a competitive Senate race in Georgia is already exhibiting signs of weakness.

Since her July announcement, Michelle Nunn’s nascent campaign has sought branding grounded in entrenched Georgia political roots, thanks to her famous father, while ensuring daylight between party and president.

The Points of Light CEO made no mention of party affiliation in a campaign announcement email, and a two-week tour across the state, dubbed “What Washington Can Learn From Georgia,” appeared more akin to her career in nonprofits than a show of political force.

Yet an increasing slew of unforced errors is undermining such efforts.

Juxtaposed against the self-projected, bipartisan problem solver image were Facebook ads calling on targeted users to “Help Keep the Democratic Majority,” hardly a winner in a state shaded as deeply red as Georgia.

The early rollout was followed by POLITICO reports that Organizing for Action, President Obama’s campaign arm gone non-profit, had been pitching donations on the premise it’d be helping Nunn’s bid.

Political realities of outside groups aside, casting a winning image as a Georgia Democrat is complicated by www.BarackObama.com filling coffers off plans to go to bat for your campaign.

President Obama’s Peach State approval numbers stood at 43 percent when last tallied, compared to 54 percent who disapprove.

The larger error comes in the form of responding to support from pro-abortion group EMILY’s List.

Nunn’s camp maintained near-universal radio silence, apparently eager to sweep the story under the rug in a state that approved a 20-week abortion ban long before Wendy Davis became a hero of the Left.

Save more Facebook ads touting the endorsement and calling on users to help the first-time candidate “keep fighting for the issues that matter to women and families,” casting a digital trail far from electable in a state that’s not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1996.

“What Washington Can Learn From Georgia” appears further turned on its head given that Nunn is now joint fundraising with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, eight months out from the primary and facing three announced competitors.

She’s also gone wheels up for DC to fill campaign coffers with Howard Dean.

Still, Nunn’s greatest early fumble lies with positing herself in favor of military intervention in Syria.

Tinging a statement with rhetoric akin to that of her pro-military muscle father is well and good, Sam Nunn remains a political lion in the annals of Georgia history, until taken into account that an overwhelming majority of Georgians expressed disapproval of any such action.

Some 54 percent of respondents opposed intervening in a recent survey, compared to just 34 percent backing President Obama’s plan.

The group most opposed? Elderly voters, those most likely to turn out on Election Day in a midterm cycle, calling Nunn’s political calculus into further question.

Absent the show of support was any hint of President Obama, a void filled by Georgia’s current GOP Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both of whom were cited as favoring a strike.

Adding insult to injury, the latter went on to cast himself against authorizing the military option.

Supporters will call the early misfires growing pains, citing a long electoral calendar and the rigors accompanying first-time candidacy.

Yet for Michelle Nunn, any hint of victory consists of walking a perfect tightrope whilst hoping for lightning in a bottle. So far, she’s not keeping her end of the deal.