On the campaign trail: NRSC takes credit for finding – and leaking — Nunn’s strategic plan

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It appears that the great mystery of Georgia’s election cycle may at last have been solved: the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) says it was the entity that found and then leaked Michelle Nunn’s infamous 144-page campaign strategy memo.

NRSC’s Rob Collins fesses up to the opposition research effort in an interview with Politico:

“We basically Googled Michelle Nunn, and we hit the second page on Google, and there was a link right next to it. … It was an unsecured Google document they just put on the web.”

They thought it might be an elaborate ruse designed to be discovered and decided that others should not click on it in case the Nunn campaign noticed a boost in traffic. But the pollster, fundraising consultant and others kept adding more information into the Google Doc.

It took a lot of self-discipline, but Republicans held onto the file for seven months — waiting until the end of the Republican Senate runoff. They knew that the nominee would be bloodied and broke.

“We dropped the memo to try and distract them for a few days,” said Collins. “It sounds like, by all indications, we distracted them for three or four weeks.”

Indeed, the Nunn plan has been a recurring presence in the Senate race ever since National Review Online published it in late July. David Perdue has continually cited the campaign document to support his accusation in attack ads that Nunn’s Points of Light Foundation provided funding to terrorist organizations, a claim that has been debunked by numerous fact checkers.

Collins’ account, if true, should serve as a lesson for any candidate, Republican or Democrat, who is thinking of running a serious campaign.

Early voting analysis

New York Times statistical analyst Nate Cohn took a look at the early voting numbers for Georgia and several other states and said it was good news for Democrats, up to a point:

More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election, according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

These voters who did not participate in 2010 are far more diverse and Democratic than the voters from four years ago. On average across these states, 39 percent are registered Democrats and 30 percent are registered Republicans. By comparison, registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats in these states by an average of 1 percentage point in 2010.

The turnout among black voters is particularly encouraging for Democrats, who need strong black turnout to compete in racially polarized states like Georgia and North Carolina. In those two states, black voters so far represent 30 percent of the voters who did not participate in 2010. By comparison, 24 percent of all those who voted in those states in 2010 were black.

But so far, there have not been enough new Democratic votes to erase the Republicans’ expected turnout advantage. It remains to be seen whether turnout among new voters will continue at these rates. The Upshot’s model, Leo, still gives the Republicans a 68 percent chance of taking the Senate.

Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications said his analysis of Georgia’s early voting numbers shows they have been cast 32.2 percent by black voters and 63.3 percent by white voters.

And this is a surprise to who, exactly?

This is one of those news releases where you scratch your head and wonder why they even bothered with it at this late stage in the campaign. The Georgia Life Alliance, one of the state’s two largest anti-abortion groups, said Friday it has endorsed Gov. Nathan Deal.

This is a news development that would rank right up there with disclosures that the sun rises in the east every morning and the moon rotates around the earth.

An endorsement from a right-to-life group certainly would have an impact in a Republican primary, but at this point in a general election campaign you could safely assume that anyone who really cares about this issue would long ago have decided whether they were going to support Deal or his Democratic opponent, Sen. Jason Carter.

A news story about the governor’s race that’s actually meaningful is the report by James Salzer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the NRA has spent $613,000 in recent weeks supporting Deal’s campaign.

The significance of this is that Carter was one of the few Democratic legislators who voted for the “Guns everywhere” bill that Deal signed into law. But it’s the Republican candidate, Deal, who got the money and the love from the NRA. Carter got exactly zilch for voting the NRA position on the gun bill.

Ed’s at the Helms for Nunn

Ed Helms, the comic actor whose resume includes stints on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Office, has delivered one of the campaign season’s wittiest endorsements – this one for Michelle Nunn in the Senate race:

Between The Hangover movies and The Office, I’m very closely associated with responsible behavior, so I’m sure you’ve been expecting to hear from me about this election.

No? That’s odd. Well here’s what you might not know — I grew up in Georgia and I love my home state.

I’m also a big fan of Michelle Nunn and I’m proud to support her campaign for Senate. My father actually supported Michelle’s father in his first Senate campaign in 1972 and for me, there’s something special about supporting Michelle in her first campaign. . . .

Now that you’ve made your donation, what else can you do? Well, I have a couple of suggestions:

  • You can do what I did and have Michelle’s face tattooed on your back and walk around shirtless all over the state of Georgia.
  • You can just scream “Vote for Michelle Nunn” at the top of your voice at random intervals all day.
  • Or, you could just make another donation. No one would judge you. (And Michelle’s campaign could really use your help.)

Framing the Chamber as another one of those radical groups

Dan McLagan, the former Sonny Perdue spokesman who’s working for Rick Allen in the 12th Congressional District race, has done some creative spinning in his time, but his latest effort may well be the most creative of all: trying to magically transform the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most conservative organizations around, into some kind of liberal radical communist cell.

From an Allen news release:

“John Barrow is a trial lawyer and professional politician who has never created a job in his life but that’s just fine with the Chamber which wants more taxpayer handouts and amnesty for illegal immigrants and sees a fellow traveler in John Barrow,” said Allen spokesman Dan McLagan.

“While Congressman Barrow runs an attack ad lying about Rick’s immigration stance, he has accepted $250,000 from the U.S. Chamber which is an outspoken proponent of amnesty. Which side of the immigration issue is Congressman Barrow on?”

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: campaign strategy plan , Dan McLagan , David Perdue , Ed Helms , Georgia Life Alliance , Jason Carter , Michelle Nunn , Nathan Deal , NRA , NRSC , Rick Allen