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Monday, October 27, 2014 - 5:02pm

Runoffs Likely In Gubernatorial, U.S. Senate Races

A runoff is increasingly likely in Georgia's tight gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

Both Deal and Carter are spending their time rallying their base of supporters with just over a week left before the Nov. 4 election.

Gov. Nathan Deal had rallies planned in six cities across north Georgia, home to the state's largest concentration of Republican voters. Carter spent the day in south and middle Georgia, joined by his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, at a rally in Columbus.

It was the 39th president's third public appearance on behalf of the campaign and he's expected to campaign in metro Atlanta this weekend.

Polls suggest neither candidate will claim a majority needed to avoid a runoff and that a third-party candidate, Libertarian Andrew Hunt, could draw up to 6 percent of the vote.

A CNN poll issued Friday suggests that Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn are in a statistical tie in their contest for the U.S. Senate.

In an Atlanta Press Club debate Sunday, the candidates found rare agreement, telling a television audience that Congress is broken. But the opponents offered starkly different reasoning for gridlock, arguing over who's more likely to break the stalemate.

Perdue stuck to his theme Sunday that President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are at fault, turning virtually every question back to his criticism of national Democrats who are unpopular in Georgia.

Nunn repeated her mantra that both parties are to blame, as she tries to attract enough moderates and independents to win in this GOP-run state that Obama lost twice.

The race, which also includes Libertarian Amanda Swafford, will help decide which major party controls the Senate in January.

Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, says whoever wins the Georgia Senate contest may have some catching up to do. Speaking on GPB''s On Second Thought, Bullock says the winning candidate will be behind other Senators already in office.

"That person will have the least seniority, and the Senate is an institution where seniority is important," noted Bullock. "That person who shows up, be it Nunn or Perdue, will get leftovers in terms of committee assignments, that the good ones will already be snapped up."

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