Nunn and Carter Rise Again in Georgia

The two most popular political names in Georgia are on the ticket.

Democrats have Georgia on their mind. Next year, a statewide ticket will probably be headed by a Nunn and a Carter, the two most popular political names in the state of the past 40 years.

Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, is running for the U.S. Senate; and Jason Carter, grandson of former Governor and President Jimmy Carter, is jumping into the governor's race.

They are injecting energy and enthusiasm into Georgia's Democratic Party, which has been outgunned by the state's Republicans in recent decades.

There's some irony. Their two famous Dads weren't close politically. When Senator Richard Russell died in 1971, then Governor Carter appointed David Gambrell, the state party chairman, to the seat. The following year, he was defeated in the Democratic primary by Sam Nunn, who went on to serve a storied 24-year career in the Senate.

The current Nunn and Carter candidates will work well on the same ticket, Georgia Democrats say, providing vitality as the party prepares for a major registration drive in 2014 that targets young voters and more than 500,000 unregistered minority citizens. Access to the political and fundraising networks of their elders should give them plenty of resources.

Nunn, a 47 year-old executive at a nonprofit organization, is a first-time candidate. But veteran politicians say she has become a good stump campaigner in the less than four months since she announced her candidacy. She's running ahead or even with all potential Republican candidates, who are expected to face a bitter primary next year.

Carter, a 38 year-old state legislator, will battle the incumbent Republican governor, Nathan Deal. But he is considered the most natural politician in the Carter family, including his grandfather.

Success for either or both Democrats would be a major breakthrough in Georgia. Republicans now control both Senate seats -- Nunn is running to replace Saxby Chambliss who will retire -- 10 of 14 Georgia seats in the House of Representatives, and two-thirds of the state legislature.

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