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Friday, November 8, 2013 - 9:00am

Mercer Prof: Carter, Nunn A Powerful Combo For Ga. Dems

With state Senator Jason Carter's entry into the Georgia governor's race Thursday, there are now two familiar names in the mix for 2014.

Carter is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn.

Both Carters and both Nunns are Democrats, and Georgia voters haven't elected one of those statewide since 2006.

But the Nunn and Carter names will evoke a certain nostalgia in 2014 that could be advantageous, said Mercer University political scientist Chris Grant, prompting voters to remember a time when government was more functional and less partisan.

"Sam Nunn was seen as being able to forge compromises in the Senate, worked well with Republicans," Grant said.

"Jimmy Carter also represents a time when rural Georgia, and agricultural Georgia was strongly Democrat, and a sense that government delivered for people who experienced difficulty because of rural poverty."

Jason Carter is not his grandfather any more than Michelle Nunn is her father, Grant added. They are their own people, and voters will get to know them on their own terms as the campaign heats up.

But, he said, these two candidates could each bring a powerful combination to races against Republicans: "Fresh young faces with familiar names."

"Jason Carter is 38, Michelle Nunn's in her early 40s, whereas Nathan Deal is 71 and whoever gets the Republican nomination for Senate will be at least past 55, Phil Gingrey is over 70 now."

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