Before each election, I generally try to do some research on each candidate to avoid relying on the often dishonest television ads like those that have been flooding the airwaves for the past month. This year, I decided to compile some of that research below in an unbiased but editorialized manner. My hope is that you’ll find this informative and helpful and allow you to make a more informed vote on November 4th.
Race for US Senate
Saxby Chambliss (R) has decided not to run for a third term in Senate, creating an open race to replace him. Chambliss was considered a conservative Republican by most. The generally liberal Washington Post lauded him for his leadership in working across the aisle to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction package. Chambliss received top ratings from the NRA, National Right to Life Organization, and American for Tax Reform while the ACLU and AFL-CIO were not such big fans. If a Republican does not win in the race to replace him, it’ll be a big loss for the GOP.
David Perdue has the type of resume that most conservative voters will drool over – years and years of successful private industry experience. David Perdue is not a career politician, although he is cousins with former GA Governor Sonny Perdue. Unlike his cousin who attended UGA, David Perdue graduated from Georgia Tech with an industrial engineering degree in 1972. In 1975, he earned a Masters in Operations Research, also from Georgia Tech.
The Warner Robbins native worked in international consulting for years before moving to the client-side where he was in charge of Asian operations for Sara Lee. He eventually moved on to Haggar Clothing company, but the job that caught my attention was his role as the CEO of Reebok. He was responsible for the deal with the NFL to provide their uniforms, an agreement that was revolutionary for the company.
Unfortunately, he left Reebok to join Pillowtex, but was unable to turn the company around. After nine months he left and shortly thereafter the company went under and nearly 8,000 lost jobs. After that career setback, he became the CEO of Dollar General where he led a huge turnaround that led to 2,600 new stores and thousands of new jobs created.
For the past few years, he has been back in consulting and has an Atlanta based global trading business.
His business experience is immense and impressive. Nunn has attacked him for his business failures, but overall that appears to be unfair in my view. Surely companies he has led have lost American jobs, but he’s also been responsible for creating paying jobs, something Nunn cannot claim. For all his great private-side experience, he lacks political experience – which some may find refreshing.
Fortunately, CampusSelect.org has done a great job compiling candidate positions for both Perdue and Nunn. These are outlines later in this post.
Rand Paul endorsed Perdue’s campaign saying he will make a great senator and as on outsider to politics, he will be a breath of fresh air.
While Perdue has a conservative’s dream resume, Nunn has the liberal dream resume. Although she is from the Macon area originally, Nunn is the daughter of Sam Nunn, a lawyer and US Senator for 25 years. As such, she grew up in Bethesda, MD. She graduated from UVA with a degree in history in 1989. In 2001 she earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard. In the same year, she got married, but decided to keep her last name.
After undergrad, she joined Hands on Atlanta, a charity organization where she coordinated hundreds of volunteers. She helped the organization grow immensely until 2003 when she joined City Cares, a similar organization. In 2007, they merged with Points of Light, a charity with ties to the Bush family. Reportedly, she has a very positive relationship with the family.
With all this great experience in charity, she appears to be a great organizer and likely very compassionate and loving individual. Good business experience is generally something I look for in a candidate and that is sorely lacking on Nunn’s resume. Her primary attacks on Perdue have been around his business decisions to outsource production or other business processes. This appears to be an emotion-based attacked aimed to influence those who don’t understand why sometimes outsourcing is best for our economy. Coming from someone with little business experience, this is a stumbling block for me in supporting Nunn.
That said, her work with charity should absolutely be commended and her ability to grow the organization is in a way business – or at least management – experience. It also speaks highly of her character.
She lives in Atlanta’s liberal Inman Park area near Little Five Points. This would be her first political office.
The contrast between Nunn and Perdue is stark. Based on the policy position comparison below, you’ll likely vote for Nunn if you agree with President Obama’s policy positions, and against her if you do not. She is a relatively far left liberal with a resume not too different from the President’s when he ran for Senate. Meanwhile Perdue is the classic Champion of Industry type Republican. Choose wisely.
Policy Position Comparison
Michelle Nunn was in favor of raising the debt ceiling with no strings attached. David Perdue opposed the move.
They both believe in a balanced budget amendment.
Michelle Nunn wants to raise the minimum wage. Perdue does not. Nunn believes in federal spending as a means to stimulate the economy, while Perdue does not. These two views are in my opinion the most important of the election and explain a great deal about the candidates views on the role of government in the economy. Their differing views is likely in large part due to their very different career backgrounds.
Another major difference is their views on the environment. Nunn believes humans are mostly responsible for global warming and is willing to make economic sacrifices to quell America’s contribution. Perdue is less willing to make that trade.
As of Monday, October 27th, polls show David Perdue has a slim 47-44 lead over Nunn
Finally, I would like to touch on an amendment because the phrasing on the ballot is somewhat dishonest. Amendment B states that is it is to direct fees to a venerable research trust. What isn’t explained on the ballot, but is written in better detail in the excerpt below is that this also calls for new fees on traffic tickets. It’s not merely a re-direction of fees, but instead additional fees for Georgia drivers. I encourage you to vote against this Amendment.
Amendment B: House Resolution 1183