Update: Two establishment-backed candidates topped the crowded Senate field in the GOP's May 20 primary, but no one received a majority of votes, so there will be a runoff on July 22. Businessman David Perdue will face Rep. Jack Kingston.
In the primary, Mr. Perdue won almost 31 percent of the vote and Congressman Kingston won 26 percent. Trailing them were former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (22 percent), Rep. Phil Gingrey (10 percent), and Rep. Paul Broun (9.6 percent).
Here’s the background: GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s retirement launched a big field of Republicans vying for their party’s nomination. Congressmen Broun and Gingrey were aligned with the tea party, but Ms. Handel picked up late tea party support, including an endorsement May 6 by Tea Party Express. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer campaigned for Handel, and her campaign credited their support for her late rise in the polls.
Handel, Broun, and Gingrey all brought an extra conservative edge to the campaign. In 2012, Handel resigned her position with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, amid the backlash over the organization’s decision to end funding to Planned Parenthood. Broun and Gingrey, both physicians, are two of the most conservative members of the House. Broun, in particular, is best-known for his controversial statements on evolution, global warming, and President Obama.
Democrats hoped to face a tea party-oriented candidate in November, but that dream is over. Their nominee, Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn, is seen as a credible prospect. Her fundraising for the first quarter of 2014 was strong at $2.4 million.
The consolation prize for Ms. Nunn is that the Republicans are having a runoff. It will tie up the eventual nominee for two more months in an intraparty battle.
The divisive, expensive primary also has the potential to leave the eventual winner weakened against Ms. Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D) of Georgia. In first-quarter 2014 fundraising, Congressman Kingston came in with $1.1 million. Gingrey, Broun, and Handel each raised less than $350,000. Mr. Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General, is tapping his personal wealth.