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Ga. Senate candidate drops additional $1M into bid

Thursday - 5/8/2014, 8:40pm  ET

CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue's personal investment in his campaign has grown another $1 million, for a total of $2.1 million as he battles for a spot in a likely GOP runoff.

Perdue made the $1 million contribution last month, his spokesman Derrick Dickey said Thursday. The campaign also reported receiving about $219,000 in contributions in April and spending about $1.45 million. Perdue had about $467,000 in cash heading into May.

Georgia's May 20 primary is among a handful being watched nationally as Republicans seek control of the Senate for the last two years of President Barack Obama's term. Republicans need to gain six seats and can't afford to lose the one in Georgia, which opened when Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced plans to retire.

Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, has been leading in the polls among a crowded field of Republicans that include three congressmen and a former secretary of state. A runoff is likely because a candidate must receive 50 percent plus one vote in order to advance to the general election.

Democratic front-runner Michelle Nunn is likely to win her primary. Her campaign reported Thursday that Nunn, the daughter of longtime former Sen. Sam Nunn, had raised about $840,000 in April for a total of $6.6 million since she entered the race about nine months ago. The campaign did not release how much she spent or how much she has in cash.

Perdue's early boost in the polls can be attributed to TV ads that began months ago, which portrayed his opponents as crying babies who have had their chance to fix the nation's problems. Those ads were paid for in part by $1.1 million the candidate put into his campaign last year.

GOP strategist Eric Tanenblatt said Perdue's personal investment has been significant and a sign of confidence in where he stands.

"He has a good opportunity to win the primary," said Tanenblatt, who served as finance co-chair for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. "Any candidate would not invest a significant amount of resources if they didn't think their campaign was moving in the right direction."

And the ad wars are heating up, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spending about $900,000 on ads looking to boost Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, a veteran lawmaker who has been leading in fundraising. Kingston also unveiled a new ad this week turning the tables on Perdue by depicting the former CEO as the child.

Others in the GOP race include Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Pre-primary federal campaign finance reports were due Thursday. Broun reported about $142,000 in contributions with about $180,000 in cash.

Reports for Gingrey, Kingston and Handel were not immediately available.

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


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