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ATLANTA (AP) — Amid a fierce fight for middle and south Georgia voters, Republican Senate candidate David Perdue is enlisting the support of his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, in a new statewide television ad that begins airing Tuesday.
The 30-second spot focuses on Perdue's childhood in middle Georgia, where he and his family worked farmland and other business interests.
Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn, whose family roots also are in the same middle Georgia county, both have work to do in the region, though it leans solidly Republican.
Nunn, the daughter of Perry native and former Sen. Sam Nunn, must put a dent in that GOP advantage if she hopes to win in a state that hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate since Zell Miller won a special election in 2000. The elder Nunn has appeared at several of his daughter's campaign stops in Macon, Albany and the surrounding region.
David Perdue, meanwhile, must shore up support in a region that he lost to Savannah Congressman Jack Kingston in the GOP primary runoff. Like Sam Nunn, Sonny Perdue remains a popular figure in the area. Both he and Nunn grew up in Houston County.
David Perdue's spokeswoman Megan Whittemore said the ad would run statewide, but would be concentrated in markets south of Atlanta.
Perdue, Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford meet on the Nov. 4 ballot. The outcome will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama's administration. Republicans need six more Senate seats and cannot afford to lose retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat.
In the latest Perdue ad, Sonny Perdue sits in a cafe and recalls how he and his cousin grew up, before they became wealthy businessmen. "He grew up modestly, like we all did here, packin' watermelons, pickin' watermelons, totin' watermelons. He got the real deal stuff here, the morals, the values, the work ethic," the former governor says.
An announcer repeats David Perdue's intentions to serve on the Senate's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Nunn has made the same declaration and both candidates have spent time courting business and civic leaders across dozens of counties dominated by agriculture.
In the ad, the Republican candidate appears — without speaking — in a rural setting wearing blue jeans. It's similar to the way Nunn is depicted in one of her own latest ads.
David Perdue and Michelle Nunn both are successful executives: Nunn in the nonprofit sector, Perdue in the Fortune 500 realm. And both have faced attacks that they are out of touch with wide swaths of Georgians. National Republican ads blast Nunn as an Obama liberal, while multiple Nunn ads cast Perdue as a CEO who took advantage of his employees.
While Nunn spent her earliest years in Georgia, she grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., as her father served in the Senate. She has lived most of her adult life in Atlanta, a Democratic stronghold, and now resides in a liberal-leaning, upper-middle class neighborhood.
David Perdue grew up in Warner Robins, but quickly climbed the corporate ladder and eventually ran publicly traded companies including Dollar General, Reebok and the failed textile firm Pillowtex. He now lives in a gated community on Sea Island, among the wealthiest residential enclaves in the state.
Online: David Perdue's latest ad on his roots: http://bit.ly/1wnRSZc
Online: Michelle Nunn's latest ad attacking Perdue: http://bit.ly/1u22pHq
Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter @BillBarrowAP.
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