- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) - Republican David Perdue defeated three people he called “career politicians” to become his party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, but Wednesday he told a group of supporters that he was humbled to speak to them beside longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

The two blasted the Obama administration for failing to lead a cohesive national response to veterans’ health care problems, the Islamic State fighters and the Ebola virus’ appearance in the U.S.

“David can bring to Washington an outsider’s view, a way of looking at issues and problems and challenges that we face in a way that I believe is important to the Congress of the United States,” McCain said.

Georgia’s Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the country as Republicans try to take a majority in the U.S. Senate. Perdue, Democrat Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford face off on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Perdue told his supporters that getting people to the polls is essential to his victory and said Republican presidential candidates - McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 - may have won if the party had done so.

“It’s in our hands,” Perdue said. “It comes down to simply getting the vote out.”

McCain and Perdue aren’t as united on the best approach to immigration reform. Perdue has said Nunn backs amnesty for illegal immigrants, based on her support for an immigration bill McCain and other Republicans voted for last year.

After speaking to reporters, McCain said the bill would require background checks, paying back taxes and learning English and “does not fit the definition of amnesty in my view.”

But McCain did back Perdue’s often-stated concern that the border must be secured, both over immigration and national security concerns.

Nunn said McCain had stood for bipartisanship during his political career and said Perdue wouldn’t follow that example.

“Whether it’s around criticizing John McCain’s bipartisan immigration bill or whether it’s criticizing the bipartisan farm bill, those are examples - the precious few in Washington - of what people can achieve when they work together,” Nunn said. “David Perdue has stood on the opposite side of both of those issues.”

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Associated Press reporter Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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