Cramming for the Midterms: Michelle Nunn vs. David Perdue

Comparing the two Senate candidates
Illustration by Javier Muñoz

One of the country’s most closely watched Senate races pits Democrat Michelle Nunn against Republican David Perdue. Both bill themselves as Washington outsiders. How else are they alike—or different?

Nunn: Macon, Georgia; 1966
Perdue: Macon, Georgia; 1946

Nunn: Husband Ron Martin Jr., who works in real estate; children Vinson (11) and Elizabeth (9)
Perdue: Wife Bonnie, a former teacher; sons David III and Blake; grandchildren David IV (3), Hudson (3), and Jack (8 months)

Political Legacy
Nunn: Daughter of former U.S. senator Sam Nunn
Perdue: First cousin of former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue

Nunn: Methodist
Perdue: Methodist

C-Level Resume Highlight(s)
Nunn: CEO of George H.W. Bush’s nonprofit Points of Light
Perdue: Former CEO of Reebok, Pillowtex, and Dollar General

Previous Elected Office Held
Nunn: None
Perdue: Class president in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades at Northside High School in Warner Robins

Prestigious Appointments
Nunn: Named by President George W. Bush in 2006 to serve on the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation
Perdue: Named to the Georgia Ports Authority board by then-governor Sonny Perdue

Best Twitter Dis (to date)
Nunn: “Our new ad explains how David Perdue’s ‘real world’ doesn’t include you.”
Perdue: “R/T if you agree we don’t need a Senator who would describe his/herself as Obama’s and Reid’s ‘best friend.’ ”

Awkward Compensation History
Nunn: Cut jobs following the 2007 merger of HandsOn Network and Points of Light. Her salary increased from $120,000 to $250,000 (though it was still less than the $325,000 per year made by her predecessor, Robert Goodwin).
Perdue: Resigned as CEO of Pillowtex in March 2003 after seven months on the job (and $1.7 million in earnings). Four months later, Pillowtex shut down, causing almost 8,000 job losses nationwide.

Georgia Endorsements
Nunn: Current or former mayors Kasim Reed, Andrew Young, and Shirley Franklin; congressman John Lewis; former governor Zell Miller; former senator Max Cleland
Perdue: Former governor Sonny Perdue (duh), Atlantan and 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain

Rural Outreach
Nunn: A leaked strategy memo detailed plans to create postcards “that incorporate Michelle and her family in rural settings with rural-oriented imagery.”
Perdue: For campaign ads, he’s awkwardly posed in a field, wearing a denim jacket

Polling data
Nunn: As of August, chances of winning as predicted by: Washington Post Election Lab, 16%; WSB-TV poll, 47%; Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, 25%
Perdue: Washington Post, 84%; WSB-TV, 40%; FiveThirtyEight, 75%

Personal Contributions to Campaign
Nunn: $5K as of June 30
Perdue: $3.1 million as of July 2

This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue under the headline “Face Off.”