Perdue Takes Lead in Georgia Senate Primary

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 10:51 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Georgia Republicans look set to choose a candidate for the race to succeed the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a run-off between businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston, a poll released on Thursday says.

Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General, leads six challengers heading into the May 20 primary, with 29 percent of the vote, according to a poll by SurveyUSA for local station WXIA-TV.

Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, is followed by Kingston, with 19 percent, while Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel are closely bunched for third place.

A runoff is almost certain, according to the 1,985 registered voters polled Sunday through Tuesday by SurveyUSA.

If no candidate wins a majority in the May primary, the top two vote-getters will face off in a second primary on July 22. The winner of that contest will face the Democratic primary winner in November.

Previous polls have shown no clear leader in the race. The most recent, by pollsters Fredrick Hicks and Michael Hassinger, showed the five leading candidates all garnering between 10 and 13 percent of the vote.

Democrats see the seat being vacated by the two-term Chambliss as vulnerable this fall.

In the Democratic primary, nonprofit CEO Michelle Nunn decisively beats three challengers, with 48 percent of the vote, according to the survey.

Former U.S. Army Ranger Todd Robinson is next, with 14 percent, while former state Sen. Steen Miles gets 11 percent, and physician Branko Radulovacki takes 5 percent.

Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, is likely to reach the 50 percent needed to avoid a July runoff.

In the gubernatorial race, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal handily defeated two challengers among survey respondents, with 65 percent. He is seeking his second term.

Dalton Mayor David Pennington follows, with 11 percent, while Georgia School Superintendent John Barge garnered 7 percent.

However, 17 percent of those surveyed said they remained undecided.

The GOP primary winner will face Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, in November.

The survey also found that Georgia voters do not want to change the state's definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Fifty-nine percent want the state's constitutional amendment to remain in place, while 32 percent want it repealed.

In addition, Georgians are divided on the recreational use of marijuana: 28 percent say possession should remain a criminal offense, while 30 percent say possession should be changed to a civil offense, and 37 percent say possession should be decriminalized.

And half of the state's residents who do not have health insurance would sign up for Obamacare, while half would not, the SurveyUSA results found.

Of the uninsured who responded that they would not, most said that the policies offered under the Affordable Care Act were too expensive, according to the survey.

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