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NRSC Confirms Tightening Race in Georgia

Perdue is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee confirmed Thursday they were looking at a tougher race in Georgia, a Republican-held state they were predicted to win fairly easily.  

The executive director of the NRSC, Rob Collins, told reporters the race "has tightened up" between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michele Nunn in Georgia.  

Recent public polling has shown Nunn gaining traction , and Perdue is struggling to move past his comment that he was "proud" of outsourcing jobs during his business career. Last week, the NRSC announced they were putting another $1.4 million into the state to help Perdue, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee followed by announcing additional spending for the state .  

"Candidly, we view that strategy in South Dakota and Georgia as similar to things we’ve done in the past where we’re kind of getting to the end of the campaign, and we’re a little anxious, start believing rumors and looking at polls differently and say, ‘Well, why don’t we put some money in here and maybe we’ll shift the dynamic,'" Collins said.  

A problem for Perdue, Collins said, has been name identification. Perdue had a crowded Republican primary, followed by a runoff, and only began campaigning for the general election at the end of July. Georgia is an expensive state to advertise, and Perdue is now just "introducing himself to a broader audience."  

In particular, Collins said, Perdue needs to make an effort to improve his name recognition in the Savannah area, near the Florida border.  

Nunn has the advantage of her last name, which she shares with her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn.  

"It's just a question of getting Perdue's narrative out there and reminding voters that whatever historic good feelings — and there’s not a lot of it left, but there’s enough, especially in the rural areas — that they may have for Nunn, this is a different Nunn, this is a liberal Nunn, and this is a Nunn that’s going to help Barack Obama continue his policies," Collins said.  

There is also a libertarian candidate in the race who Collins said he did not expect to draw more than one or two percent of the vote on Election Day, but who takes most of her support from Perdue.  

But Collins said they remain bullish they would hold the Georgia seat, and likely gain the six seats Republicans need to take control of the Senate.  

"I think we’re gonna get there, we still have 20 days, and like I said, I don’t want to sound like we’re down and we’re desperate," Collins said. "We’re up. It’s just we want to win this and put our candidate in a position to either win in November" or in a runoff.  

The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.  

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