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Southerners are part of a group of 44 former senators who penned an open letter in the Washington Post
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Twelve former Southern senators have joined an open letter calling on current senators “to be steadfast and zealous” in guarding democracy amid “serious challenges to the rule of law” flowing from investigations of President Trump and his administration.
“It is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the Constitution, our governing institutions and our national security,” wrote a bipartisan group of 44 former senators in the letter, which was published December 10 in the Washington Post.
The former senators cited a “convergence” between special counsel Robert Muller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and additional investigations likely to be launched by the incoming Democrat-led House.
“We are at an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld,” they wrote.
“At other critical moments in our history, when constitutional crises have threatened our foundations, it has been the Senate that has stood in defense of our democracy. Today is once again such a time.”
The letter was signed by 32 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two independents who served in the Senate between the 1970s and 2015. Among the signatories were 12 Southerners, including 11 Democrats and a lone Republican, John Warner of Virginia. The list includes:
- Arkansas: David Pryor (D, retired 1996) and Blanche Lincoln (D, defeated 2010)
- Florida: Bob Graham (D, retired 2004)
- Georgia: Sam Nunn (D, retired 1996), Wyche Fowler (D, defeated 1992) and Max Cleland (D, defeated 2002)
- Louisiana: Bennett Johnston (D, retired 1996) and Mary Landrieu (D, defeated 2014)
- Tennessee: Jim Sasser (D, defeated 1994)
- Virginia: Warner (R, retired 2008) and Chuck Robb (D, defeated 2000)
- West Virginia: Jay Rockefeller (D, retired 2014)
The seats of all of the Southern Democrats who signed the letter, except for Robb, are now in Republican hands. Warner’s seat is now held by a Democrat.
None of the major candidates in either race is above the 50 percent threshold required for a win under the state’s unique election law
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ATLANTA (CFP) — Races for U.S. Senator and governor in Georgia appear heading for December runoffs, thanks to close races, support for third-party Libertarians and the Peach State’s unique requirement of general election runoffs if no candidate wins a majority on election day.
A runoff could leave control of the Senate hanging in the balance until January 6 if Georgia’s race is needed to decide the balance of power.
The Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, a lawyer and former city councilwoman in Flowery Branch, is polling between 3 and 6 percent – enough to cause a runoff if the battle between Perdue and Nunn is close.
Likewise, in the race for governor, the Republican incumbent, Governor Nathan Deal, and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Jason Carter, are within the margin of error but below 50 percent, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt, an Atlanta technology executive, polling at about 5 percent.
Georgia is the only state in the union that has a general election runoff. The runoff for governor would be December 2, but the runoff for Senate would not happen until January 6.
Louisiana has a slightly different system in which candidates from all parties run in a primary in November, with a runoff set for December 6 if no candidate gets a majority.
The U.S. Senate race in Louisiana also appears to be heading for a runoff, with recent polls showing both incumbent U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her GOP challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, polling in the low to mid 40s.
In the Georgia Senate race, Nunn and Perdue, both political newcomers, are seeking the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, while Perdue is a cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue.
In the governor’s race, Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, has run a surprisingly strong campaign against Deal, who is seeking a second term as the state’s chief executive after serving more than 17 years in Congress.
Deal’s prospects for re-election may have been harmed by the state’s sluggish response to a January snowstorm that paralyzed metro Atlanta.
Perdue defeats U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and faces Democrat Michelle Nunn in November
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ATLANTA (CFP) — First-time candidate David Perdue has taken a major step toward securing a seat in the U.S. Senate by narrowly winning the Republican runoff for Georgia’s open seat.
Perdue, a businessman from St. Simons Island, defeated U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, 59, an 11-term congressman from from Savannah, with 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Kingston.
Perdue led after the first round of primary voting on May 20. Although Kingston secured endorsements from the third and fourth place finishers in the crowded primary, Perdue carried the vote-rich Atlanta suburbs in the runoff to claim victory.
Perdue will now face Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Georgia U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Despite the Peach State’s Republican tilt, recent polling has shown a potentially competitive race this fall.
Perdue made clear in his victory speech that he plans to tie Nunn, who is running for office for the first time, to President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Washington.
“We’ve got a mission in front of us. Our opponent should not be taken lightly,” he said. “This fall, we’re going to have a clear choice. And that is a choice we’re going to have to win for our kids and grandkids. We’ve had enough of this the last six years.”
Nunn, 47, was the CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, affiliated with former Presdent George H.W. Bush.
During the heated runoff campaign, Kingston ran ads attacking Perdue’s conservative bona fides on issues including the Common Core education standards and immigration.
Perdue criticized the veteran congressman for being part of the high-spending Washington establishment.
The seat opened up when U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss decided to retire.