Tags: | georgia | senate | primary | republicans

Georgia Pollster: Handel Mounts Late Surge in GOP Senate Primary

By    |   Tuesday, 20 May 2014 06:27 PM

Rep. Jack Kingston could find himself out of the running for the Senate thanks to a late-breaking challenge from an underfunded rival, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a top Peach State pollster told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

If Handel's surprise surge holds after the polls close on Tuesday night, she would likely be the candidate to face the GOP Senate primary's expected winner, David Perdue, in a run-off this summer, InsiderAdvantage CEO and publisher Matt Towery told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth.

Kingston, come January, would be out of Congress after 22 years in the House.

The latest InsiderAdvantage survey shows Handel, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, pulling even with or ahead of Kingston -- who is giving up his seat in his bid to reach the Senate -- and making up some ground on Perdue, a businessman and son of a former Georgia governor.

Towery said the crowded GOP Senate primary has gotten tighter overall down the stretch. Six candidates, including three sitting U.S. House members, are competing to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Said Towery, "The real battle is going to be between Handel and Kingston to see who will have the chance to have a runoff against David Perdue."

But voters in the heavily Republican state are showing little interest in most of Chambliss's would-be heirs.

"We're just not seeing the massive turnout that we saw in 2010 when the tea party was really hot and on fire," said Towery, adding that "this turnout bug is something something that Republicans are going to have to be concerned about when we go into November."

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The runoff victor is expected to face Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of a former U.S. senator, in the general election.

Towery said one candidate who has fired up supporters, and done so on a bare-bones campaign budget, is Handel, a former candidate for Georgia governor who has made presented herself as a bona-fide conservative but campaigned at a lower rhetorical volume and temperature than her rivals.

"I'm usually a believer that those who spend the most on TV win, but she somehow has managed to climb right up there," said Towery, citing Handel's extensive use of social media and robo-calling. "She had Sarah Palin calling, for example, on her behalf on auto call" last weekend, he said.

Towery said Kingston, as a departing House incumbent, has at least one built-in advantage: a high-profile race to succeed him in Georgia's 1st congressional district that could add to his vote totals.

"You're going to see a lot of fire power and a lot of Kingston votes coming out of southeast Georgia early on," said Towery. "So when you see the early returns tonight out of Georgia, you should see Perdue and Kingston sort of jump ahead."

The question is whether he'll hold that lead -- founded on his edge in early voting and on support from the coastal southeast -- as the more heavily populated Atlanta-area counties start to be counted.

"He'll really be working against time than anything else in hoping that Karen Handel hasn't picked up her momentum," said Towery.

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Rep. Jack Kingston could find himself out of the running for the Senate thanks to a late-breaking challenge from an underfunded rival, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a top Peach State pollster told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
georgia, senate, primary, republicans
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2014-27-20
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 06:27 PM
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