Obama Calls Nunn Win in Georgia Key to Democratic SenateAngela Greiling Keane
President Barack Obama may be a rare sight this year beside fellow Democrats running for Congress, yet he lent his full support to Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn in a radio interview this week.
Obama told Atlanta’s V-103’s Ryan Cameron Morning Show that a Nunn victory in the race for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat would ensure that Democrats keep control of the chamber.
“If Michelle Nunn wins, that means Democrats keep control of the Senate and we can keep on doing some good work,” Obama said in interview Oct. 20. “It is critically important to make sure folks vote.”
At public rallies and at political fundraisers for donors this campaign season, Obama has been urging Democrats to turn out for the Nov. 4 elections. He has been making direct appeals to minority voters, women and young people with a message that that their participation is the key to Democrats keeping their Senate majority.
‘’I’ve got a lot of stuff left to do in these last two years,’’ he told the radio station, which has a predominantly black audience. He said the only way he can do that is with a Congress that shares his vision.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest downplayed the importance of Georgia to Senate control, saying the president was using it as one example of why Democratic voter turnout is important.
“The observation that he’s making is that even in a difficult environment like Georgia, that a Democratic candidate can prevail, that that might be an indication that Democratic candidates in other races are faring well,” Earnest said today at a White House briefing.
Nunn is in a close race with Republican David Perdue. Recent polls show the candidates essentially tied for support.
They are running for the spot opened by the retirement of Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to have a majority in the Senate. Democrats are defending 21 seats, seven of them in states Obama lost in 2012. Winning Georgia, which Obama lost in the presidential race, would give Democrats an added cushion.
Obama hasn’t appeared with Nunn during the campaign, and she didn’t greet him on the tarmac when he visited Atlanta last month for a meeting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters. He scrapped two campaign-related trips last week to stay in Washington and focus on how to fight the Ebola virus in the U.S. and in West Africa.
In the interview, Obama evoked civil right icons Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, and Martin Luther King to illustrate Georgia’s tradition of supporting Democrats. He didn’t mention former President Jimmy Carter, who is from and now lives in the state.
“Georgia is a state that for a long time people have said could go Democratic if people vote,” Obama said.