- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

CANTON, Ga. (AP) - As the race for Georgia’s open Senate seat narrows, Republican David Perdue is working to rally his base of supporters and getting some megawatt help from conservative hero, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Cruz joined Perdue for Saturday campaign events in two key places - the northern outskirts of metro Atlanta and along the coast - with just over a week before a general election match-up against Democrat Michelle Nunn. With polls suggesting a tight race that could end in a Jan. 6 runoff, the race has become a key battleground in a national fight for control of the Senate.

In his speech, Cruz went after “red-state Democrats” like Nunn for playing a game in which they tell voters, in his words, “Look, I’m not like those crazy Democrats in Washington.”

Cruz quickly added: “Let me tell you now, every single one of them is lying to you. They promise their values are just like yours. And frankly they think the voters aren’t smart enough to see through what they are doing.”

Inside the large church auditorium, the crowd roared their approval as they waved American flags and Perdue signs. During their speeches, Cruz and Perdue argued Nunn, if elected, would support Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and what they call the “failed agenda” of the Obama administration.

As Cruz left the stage, the crowd broke into chants of “run, Ted, run.” Cruz is considered among a field of Republicans believed to be eyeing a presidential bid in 2016.

The warm response could be expected. In Cherokee County, voters overwhelmingly backed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who received 78 percent of the vote there in 2012. It’s a key gateway to north Georgia, considered the home base of state Republicans.

Nunn is banking on Cruz being less popular in other parts of the state, particularly among swing voters. Leading up to Saturday’s event, Nunn blasted Cruz as the architect of last year’s government shutdown and criticized Perdue for supporting it, arguing the partisan bickering hurt Georgia families and the economy.

“David has said his support for the government shutdown speaks for itself, and I think it does,” Nunn said Friday. “The majority of Georgians know we don’t need to shut down our government in order to figure out how to get things done.”

Perdue said after Cruz’s speech that he was gratified by the support he received from “all corners of the Republican Party,” noting Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky had also come to Georgia to help his campaign.

“This is a diverse party, and I’m bringing support from all over the party to my candidacy and that’s what got me here,” Perdue said.

Meanwhile, Nunn was expected to get a boost from Hillary Rodham Clinton at an afternoon fundraiser at a private home in Atlanta.

After the church event, Perdue and Cruz headed to coastal Georgia for a BBQ with Savannah Rep. Jack Kingston, whom Perdue defeated after a bruising primary and nine-week runoff. Kingston dominated across coastal Georgia, and his support is considered crucial to helping Perdue win on Nov. 4.

National Republicans have said it’s critical for Perdue to improve his name recognition in south Georgia and the Savannah area.

Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC, has recently launched a TV ad featuring Kingston, in which the congressman urges voters to back Perdue. Long forgotten are the attacks he made against Perdue that are quite similar to the ones Nunn is now making.

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Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Christina.

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