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Ok, I'm not going to lie.  I've been thinking about just holding my noise and accept the fact that Blue Dog Congressman John Barrow (D. GA-12) is our best shot at winning the Georgia Senate Race.  I know, I know, I sighed heavily about that too and there is a strong persuasive argument to suppotr Barrow:

“I think he’s seriously considering it. I think he understands that a whole lot of things would have to come together for him to do it,” said Tom Bordeaux, a former state lawmaker and Savannah attorney whose friendship with Barrow stretches back 40 years to the University of Georgia.

Bordeaux likes to think of Barrow as a Republican creation who could come back to haunt the GOP. Three times Republicans have tried to draw Barrow out of his southeast Georgia district.

“The Republicans meant it for evil, to put Barrow in three different districts,” Bordeaux said. “And guess what? He’s represented more of Georgia than anybody else but the dang governor. They put him in Savannah, they put him in Athens, and they’ve put him in Augusta now. And he’s got connections in all of those areas.”

Democratic chances will depend in part on whom Republicans nominate — and how far the GOP contest is pushed to the right by the likes of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens.

“Everything being timing in politics, the Democrats' chances are enhanced based on who the Republicans nominate. And the Republicans would agree with this,” said Steve Anthony, who teaches political science at Georgia State University. He dropped in on one of Barrow’s sessions last week. - Atlanta Journal Constitutional, 4/3/13

We've gone through all the other possible choices.  Max Cleland doesn't want to do it.  Kassim Reed is too focused on being mayor of Atlanta.  Scott Holcomb and Jason Carter aren't interested.  No real word from Thubert Baker and Michael Thurmond on this.  Vernon Jones would be worse than Barrow.  So who else is there?  The Democratic Party of Georgia finally has a shot to wake up and take Cleland's old seat back from the party that swiftboated him with this ad:

As many of you know, my strong hatred for Saxby Chambliss (R. GA) made me get interested in this race:

But then I came across a new name (at least to me) and I liked what was written about her:

The other is Michelle Nunn, Sam’s daughter. Michelle Nunn isn’t as far along in her exploration of the race, we understand. She has much in common with Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democrat who will now face former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in a coastal congressional race that will end May 2.

Both women are political novices, with experience in both the business and nonprofit sectors. Both have relatives who poll well in their respective states. And now that he’s retired, Sam Nunn — when he is not warning of nuclear terrorism — can be just as funny as Stephen Colbert. - Atlanta Journal Constitutional, 4/3/13

So I decided to look up the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn (D. GA) to see what makes her qualified to run for the vacant Senate besides her family connections.  Here's what I found:

Michelle Nunn is the CEO of Points of Light and co-founder of HandsOn Network. Points of Light inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world. Michelle began her service journey when she helped found HandsOn Atlanta in 1989. What began as a grassroots startup of 12 individuals hoping to get more people involved in volunteer service has grown into the largest volunteer network in the country, working each day to connect 21st century volunteers with their power to create change in their communities.

At Points of Light, Michelle leads the organization in engaging millions of volunteers each year to use their time, talent, voice and money to solve the pressing issues of our time. Through Points of Light and its three divisions: Programs, Civic Incubator and Action Networks, which include HandsOn Network, the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the country and around the world; generationOn, the youth service movement that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world; AmeriCorps Alums, the national service alumni network that activates the next generation of service leaders; and Points of Light Corporate Institute, our enterprise that enables companies to engage their employees and customers in service, individuals, families, and corporate and community groups find meaningful opportunities to give back and create impact.

Michelle has been a leader in the service and nonprofit sector for two decades. She has served on the President’s Council on Service and Civic Engagement and as a co-convener of the Service Nation Coalition and Re-Imagining Service. She has received a variety of awards, including the Fast Company Social Capitalist Award and honorary degrees from Oglethorpe University and Wesleyan College. The NonProfit Times has named Michelle to its annual “Power and Influence Top 50” list of change agents from the nonprofit sector for four consecutive years.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia with a major in history and a minor in religion. She has studied at Oxford University and in India. She was a Kellogg National Fellow and has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Michelle lives in Atlanta with her husband, Ron Martin, and their two children, Vinson and Elizabeth. -

GA Pundit brings up some valid points about what Nunn has to bring to the table as a candidate:

But it should give Republicans pause to consider what a Nunn candidacy would bring to the table for Democrats.

    A recognizable name statewide
    Likely connections to well-heeled Atlantans through her work with Hands On Atlanta
    Likely connections to wells of DC political money through her father, former
    United States Senator Sam Nunn
    No real political history, a tabula rasa. - GA Pundit, 2/6/13

All good points but of course it comes down to if Nunn wants to follow in her father's foot steps.  According to this Tweet, she is:
So I don't like Barrow but I am convinced that he would make a strong candidate and I am willing to hold my nose and get behind him.  Michelle Nunn is a candidate I would like to get behind but I need to know how serious she is and how she would campaign.  A crowded, nasty primary is bound to happen on the GOP side.  I don't want a nasty primary on our side because the GOP's infighting will benefit our chances of taking this seat.  But I'd like to see Nunn give it a go.  Even if she doesn't win the nominee, I'd like to see her put up a fight with Barrow.  Maybe she can get Barrow to at least fight for the more progressive Georgia Democratic voters.  We shall have to see.

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and Kos Georgia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  An intriguing option (7+ / 0-)

    especially if we might want Barrow to stay in the House.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:07:02 AM PDT

  •  the name and family connections (6+ / 0-)

    are to be reckoned with,  just depends on whether she can project well in public and touch some common chords.  

    It would be great to get a senate seat back.   And I can only hope the wingers go with Broun.

  •  Michelle was a College Dem (7+ / 0-)

    ...when she was at UVA. I remember that the campus organization was startled that she hunted them down to join before they started their "welcome to campus" membership drive that Fall. That was in stark contrast to certain other "legacy Democrats" that were in Virginia Universities at the time.

    I will pay very close attention and tweak my network for more current assessment of her, but based just on what I know now, she runs and she's getting money and phone time from me.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:20:57 AM PDT

  •  White male Blue Dog can't win. Back Nunn or Smyre. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, MPociask, Gygaxian

    OK, I admit I haven't checked--but I'll betcha that no matter how Barrow's district has been redrawn, every version has had a higher % of African-American voters than the state as a whole.

    Dems can't win in Georgia statewide unless they drive up support from women and non-white voters. A white male candidate just ain't gonna do that--unless he's liberal enough to burn his white male support down to the ground. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

    That means we need a woman or an African-American.

    (FWIW: I'm a white guy. And this is why I have little patience with the occasional complaint that African-Americans are "stuck with" the Dems. That works both ways; white Dems are every bit as "stuck with" African-Americans. Neither faction can win unless we, um, you know, respect each other, learn about each others' concerns and aspirations, put aside our egos, work together for the good of all. You know, what we should do anyway without being forced to. Funny how that works.)

    I was unaware Michelle Nunn existed, but based on this diary she looks terrific.

    I wish Calvin Smyre, longtime legislative leader from Columbus, and African-American, would run. But he's given no sign he's interested. And Nunn is significantly younger than Smyre, so she would certainly have the potential to hold the seat for more terms.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:32:18 AM PDT

    •  Barrows district may be more black than the state (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, MichaelNY

      as a whole (I don't know), but it is also more conservative than the state as a whole.  It gave Obama a much lower share of the vote than he got statewide.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:49:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fascinating. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. NT (0+ / 0-)

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:56:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's an interesting comparison (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Because the statewide average is misleading when it comes to Obama's numbers.  The districts are all so gerry-mandered that EVERY district either gave far more support to Obama than average, or FAR LESS.  

        Jody Cooley, running in Georgia's ninth, outpolled the President by about 4 points.  The 9th also gave Obama a much lower share of the vote than he got statewide - 20 points versus 45 points.  

        Meanwhile, Barrow's district gave Obama 43 percent of the vote, compared to the 45 vote total.  Barrow outperformed the President by about 10 points, facing a comically bad candidate.  

        Don't get me wrong, Barrow's clearly a fighter.  But I don't know if he's some kind of world beater.  Incumbents do win, after all, most of the time.  

  •  Daughter of the architect of DADT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hope she's fallen a little further from the tree.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:35:34 AM PDT

    •  He changed his mind on the issue I believe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, MichaelNY
      •  Changed his mind? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have never been aware of any change on the part of Sam Nunn regarding DADT.  If there was, I would love to know more about that.  But he also wasn't the architect of DADT.  He was the REASON for it being proposed by the Clinton Administration to prevent his proposal to codify a total ban on gays and lesbians in the military.  And that total ban proposal was made by Sen. Sam Nunn in a fit of pique at the Clinton Administration because President Clinton did not give Nunn the Secretary of State position in the new incoming Clinton Administration.  Pissed off, he looked at the Clinton's platform and took aim at Clinton's promise to issue an Executive Order on day one of the new administration that would lift the military's ban on LGBT persons in the armed forces.  

        Clinton was faced with a strong socially conservative movement initially led by Nunn in the Congress to codify the military's unjust discrimination into law. Up to that point, it was only a part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and subject to Executive Branch oversight which is why a Clinton Executive Order could have removed this bigotry from the military books at the beginning of 1993.  While Clinton's intention was to prevent a codification of a total ban and provide a compromise till the nation, Congress, and the military moved to a more progressive mindset, the reality of DADT was that it provided cover for an INCREASED targeting and discharging of gays and lesbians instead of forcing military personnel to take action only against "out" individuals.

        Sen. Sam Nunn's personal pique because he didn't get  appointed as Secretary of State unnecesarily ruined the lives of a lot of gay, lesbian, and bisexual military personnel.  I'll grant that Michelle Nunn is not her father Sam Nunn, but I can't help needing to know from Ms Nunn right off the bat what her position was over the years regarding DADT and the military ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual personnel and how she felt about what her father's proposal to codify into U.S. law the military ban.

        Sometimes family members are able to stake out different positions from previous or current political dynasty members and even be deft about doing it.  But sometimes they feel it is a badge of honor to carry on crazy positions and ideology.  I want to know which of those descriptions applies to Michelle Nunn.

  •  Democrats make a mistake when they don't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chmood, MPociask

    have primaries. They deride Republicans for "falling in line" at the end, but don't recognize that expecting Democrats to fall in line at the beginning is even worse. At a minimum, their candidates don't get any free press. Of course, that makes the paid propagandists happy.

    The corporatocracy doesn't like democracy.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:14:01 AM PDT

    •  Yes yes yes yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Also, a primary forces a candidate to get out there and visit the whole state, BEFORE the general.  So besides the free press helping the eventual candidate, it also makes the eventual candidate a better candidate when it comes time to fight the Republicans.  

      Please, please, please let there be a vigorously contested primary.

  •  this would be intruiging, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY can you be so sure that Michelle Nunn would be much different than Barrow. Sam Nunn was quite conservative and would clearly be called a "blue dog" Democrat if ever there was one, especially for his extremely hawkish views.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that his daughter is cut from the exact same cloth. She could be just as conservative or, possibly even more so.

    •  She's compared to Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the (0+ / 0-)

      AJC article and ECB isn't conservative.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:47:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wouldnt surprise me if she is conservative (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, pistolSO, wdrath, MichaelNY

      on some issues, but the reality is any Dem is going to have be to win statewide.

      The advantage vs. Barrow might be 1. She might not be as conservative as Barrow. 2. We dont have to give up a House seat; Barrow can run for re-election, Nunn can run for Senate.

      •  I know "has to be conservative" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        On some issues is the prevailing logic, but I don't understand it, really.  

        Last time I checked the numbers, 23% of Georgia voters described themselves as "Very conservative."  You're not going to get those voters.  29% describe themselves as "somewhat conservative."  Do you try to attract that group by taking some, but not all, of their positions?  If you do that, how many votes do you lose by turning off liberals?  Also, if you resign yourself to taking Republican party positions, when do you ever move the state left?  (Another reason for a vigorous primary).

        •  Fair points (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I guess my view of "more and better Democrats" is that sometimes it's hard for a liberal Dem to win a conservative state/district, but a conservative/moderate Dem can. And then, that can serve as a bridge to electing more liberal Dems.

          "Has to be conservative" might have been poor wording on my part. I meant, if she is conservative on some issues, I dont think that it should be held against her.

          I certainly support a primary, and it would be up to Dems to look at the entire record and views of all the candidates to see if one is too conservative or not.

          •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I think we're largely in agreement - mostly I wanted to push back some on the common wisdom.  But yeah, if she doesn't support an assault weapons ban or something like that, I don't think that would be grounds (by itself) for disqualifying her.  Background checks, on the other hand...

  •  Vinson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, pistolSO, MichaelNY

    It's interesting that her son is named Vinson. Sam Nunn is the great-nephew of Carl Vinson, who was in Congress for 50 years (1914-64) and who was the long-time Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

    •  And has an institute at UGA.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davybaby, MichaelNY, yella dawg

      named after him... the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.  While Googling to make sure I got the name right, also found out apparently, one of the Navy's Nimitz class carriers is the USS Carl Vinson.

      •  Which has Ralph Reed on the payroll (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, MichaelNY

        read your comments above
        hope this explains something about GA to you.  The  UGA economic department conducts studies purporting to show that minimum wage increases cost jobs and it's PBS station shows programs produced by W's PBS group.  It's not just the 29% and the 23% -- RW views pass for "reasonable" here

  •  No. Just no. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian, MichaelNY

    it's no secret here that she has political ambitions and maybe she's had her eye on this race for a long time but a "getting to know you" campaign against a certain winner like Chambliss (which is probably what she had in mind) is one thing and a winnable race against clown like  Broun or a Gingrey is another.  Barrow could win this race.  She can't.  Ironically Barrow would probably be very much like Nunn Sr. as a Senator -- but that's what's was electable here once and could be again.  A candidate in any way comparable to Elizabeth Warren (and I don't really see it myself) will scare the reasonable Rethugs more than a Broun or Gingrey.  She needs to wait for Isakson or run against Deal.  One day we will take Georgia back, but not yet.

    •  Also -- anything from WSB TV should be taken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with a grain of salt -- WSB radio is  home of Rush, Hermain Cain, et al and they would love to see a Michelle Nunn candidacy

    •  Do you have any evidence? (0+ / 0-)

      That at all supports your assertion that Nunn cannot win the election?
      You don't? Well then basically your just spewing bullshit.

      We only think nothing goes without saying.

      by Hamtree on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:28:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not at all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, bythesea

        And just because I'm curious what evidence do you have that she can?  Do you have any experience of Georgia, or any "red" state politically?

        •  What evidence do I have? (0+ / 0-)

          You are the one making an assertion not me it is up to you to prove your assertion. Furthermore the very diary you are commenting on gives you 3 reasons why she can be a good candidate. They are.
          1) Connections to money, and political leaders
          2) No political track record to attack.
          3) A popular local family name.

          Try thinking before posting. thx.

          We only think nothing goes without saying.

          by Hamtree on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:29:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not comparing Nunn to Barrow, but just using hypothetical people, I'd think someone like Elizabeth Warren, who would be willing to make a populist case against the banks and against the corrupt good-ole-boy system in the state of Georgia, could be VERY attractive to Georgians.  Now, maybe Barrow can make that case as well.  But I don't see how being blue dog helps a Democrat in Georgia.  It's like Obama as President.  Obama is about as liberal as Richard Nixon, yet people here in Georgia treat him as a socialist antichrist come to take your guns and raise everyone's taxes.  

      If you're going to be treated as if you're a far left socialist, what's the harm in actually putting forward liberal proposals (that, by the way, poll well nationwide, including in Georgia)?

      •  Obama lost Georgia, right? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't understand your reasoning. Are you being a defeatist, believing that no Democrat has a chance to win, so Democratic candidates in Georgia might as well pretend they're campaigning in Vermont?

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 01:37:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's try an illustration (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Pretend that there is a such thing as a left right political spectrum:


          Now, pretend that you are a Democrat running for office in Georgia.  You are facing a Republican, who by virtue of this being Georgia, is somewhere around here on the spectrum:


          You have two choices.  You can run here on the spectrum:

          L---------X-C----------R  (for sake of argument, let's agree this is where moderate Democrats are like Obama)

          Or you can run here on the spectrum:

          L--X------C----------R  (for sake of argument, let's call this the Bernie Sanders, a Socialist, position).

          Now, as a Democrat running for office, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR ACTUAL positions are, you are going to be treated as a wacko lunatic socialist.  Hence, there is no extra cost to taking the Bernie Sanders positions.  But there is potential benefit!  As it turns out, increasing social security benefits is more popular than decreasing them.  Breaking up big banks is more popular than putting them in charge of the country.  Raising the minimum wage is popular . Universal gun background checks are popular.  

          So you can take luke warm Blue Dog positions, to look like a Republican (see what Truman has to say about that), STILL BE CALLED A SOCIALIST, and have your positions not resonate because you're trying to be "serious," OR you can take the popular liberal positions.  Which can win in Georgia.  LBJ got gigantic crowds in Georgia preaching as liberal a message as you'll hear any Democrat say today.  MLK's message was popular in Georgia.  That didn't go away, just because the Republican party hijacked the state.

          And to answer your question, no, I am not a defeatist .

          •  LBJ and MLK are ancient history (0+ / 0-)

            in political terms, and MLK certainly never could have won a state-wide election in Georgia, anyway.

            Your argument is not politically accurate at all. Name one Democrat running as a liberal/progressive who's won an open US Senate seat in a state with an R+ PVI since the 1990s.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:46:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Make an analogy (0+ / 0-)

            Where was Scott Brown on that continuum? Would he have had any chance of winning if he actually had run as a hard-right Republican? Nope, not a 1% chance, even against Coakley.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:48:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg

    A comment on this, though:

    Maybe she can get Barrow to at least fight for the more progressive Georgia Democratic voters.
    Whoever runs for the Senate on the Democratic side will appeal to liberal voters, but not by supporting much that most folks on Daily Kos would recognize as progressive. Wyche Fowler hasn't been Senator from Georgia for a long time and couldn't win now. So no liberal/progressive/whatever you want to call it will be Senator from Georgia for some time to come.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 01:40:34 AM PDT

  •  As an un-informed outsider (0+ / 0-)

    I think Barrow might be the better choice, but Nunn has a good enough chance that I'd rather she try and just keep Barrow in his House seat.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:22:19 AM PDT

  •  As a Georgia Democrat... (0+ / 0-)

    As a Georgia Democrat, I will say, without the slightest bit of equivocation, that I will not support John Barrow in the primary or in the general election.  People like John Barrow are a cancer on the party, someone who muddles and undermines our messaging and agenda while reinforcing the Republicans' with bipartisanship and "moderation," effects that spill over into other districts and states and drag the whole party down (see 2010).  And to top it off, they go on cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars each election cycle.

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