Hours after his narrow victory in the Georgia GOP Senate primary, businessman David Perdue turned his attention Wednesday to his general election matchup with Democrat Michele Nunn in what is shaping up to be one of the most watched races of the 2014 midterm elections.
Mr. Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General, Reebok and the failed textile firm Pillowtex, said that he will make the election a referendum on President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the “failed policies” they have embraced.
“This candidate, Michelle Nunn, I have a lot of respect for her, for her work and for her family, but she is going to have to defend the failed policies of the last six years,” Mr. Perdue said on “Fox and Friends.” “That is what we intend to do prosecute that failed record.”
The Nunn campaign, meanwhile, launched an online “money bomb,” telling supporters that she needs the financial support “to get our message out across the state — and prepare for the attacks we know are coming.”
The race for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat is among about a dozen contests that could determine whether Republicans can flip control of the Senate and take the gavel out of Nevada Democrat Mr. Reid’s hands.
Republicans need to win a net of six seats to seize control of the upper chamber.
Ms. Nunn and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are considered the prized Democratic recruits of the 2014 election season and their party’s best bets of picking up a GOP-held seat.
Ms. Nunn is the daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn and former CEO of George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation. She easily won the Democratic primary and has pulled in $3.45 million over the last three months — more than Mr. Perdue.
Mr. Perdue put more than $3 million of his own money into the primary race.
A Landmark Communications poll released before the runoff race showed that Ms. Nunn was running six percentage points ahead of Mr. Perdue — though political observers said they expected the race to tighten once Republicans picked their nominee.
Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said that the race leans Republican.
“Nunn is a strong candidate and Georgia is trending toward battleground status over the long run, I think, but Georgia is still a Republican state and this is shaping up to be at least a moderately Republican year,” Mr. Kondik said. “So I’d rather be Perdue than Nunn as the general election gets under way.”
The Georgia Senate primary race started off as a seven-way contest featuring three incumbent House members — Reps. Paul C. Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston.
The contest eventually boiled down to a race between Mr. Perdue, who cast himself as a Washington outsider, and Mr. Kingston, who ran on what he said was his conservative record over his 11-terms in Congress.