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5 things to know about the Georgia Senate primary
by The Associated Press
May 20, 2014 09:09 PM | 3638 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Republican candidate for US Senate Karen Handel, center, greets supporters during a election-night watch party Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Phil Skinner)
Republican candidate for US Senate Karen Handel, center, greets supporters during a election-night watch party Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Phil Skinner)
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The Georgia Senate race will be one of the most closely watched of the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans are looking to defend retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss's seat as they try to regain control of the Senate for the final two years of the Obama administration.

Democrats want to pull the upset and put a serious dent in GOP hopes of scoring a net six-seat gain needed for a Senate majority. As early returns come in from across Georgia, here are five things you need to know:

NUNN WINS DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

Michelle Nunn ran up a huge margin, as expected, over three rivals to win the Democratic nomination. The former nonprofit executive wants to win the same Senate seat that her father, Sam Nunn, held from 1972 to 1997.

DAVID PERDUE SECURES ONE GOP RUNOFF SPOT

In a seven-candidate field, businessman David Perdue secured one July 22 runoff spot with his outsider message, running very strong in much of central Georgia and managing to finish second in many other counties across the state. With 62 percent of precincts reporting, he had 30 percent of the vote.

KINGSTON, HANDEL BATTLE FOR SECOND SPOT

Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah trailed Perdue at 28 percent and former Secretary of State Karen Handel was running third at 20 percent. But much of metro Atlanta still hadn't reported, and that vote-rich area is not Kingston's strongest source of support.

HOMETOWN STRENGTH

Kingston is running very strong in southeast Georgia across the Savannah-based congressional district he has represented in Congress for more than 21 years. But Handel's strength is Fulton County, where she once served as commission chairman, and the rest of metro Atlanta. The question is whether late returns are enough for her to close the gap on her south Georgia rival.

OTHER SITTING CONGRESSMEN TRAIL

Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta are trailing well behind the leaders, both falling just short of 10 percent.
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