Five things to know about Michelle Nunn

July 23, 2013

Democrat Michelle Nunn is officially a Senate candidate in Georgia, and she's already getting a lot of attention from both parties.


Democrat Michelle Nunn. (Kevin Wolf/AP)

So just who is Nunn? Here are five things to know about her:

1. Her father was a senator. Nunn's father is former senator Sam Nunn, a moderate Democrat who served in the upper chamber for nearly a quarter century. The elder Nunn chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee and built a reputation around the issue of national security. The Nunn name is still pretty well-known in Georgia, and in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the new Senate candidate signaled her father would not be absent from the campaign effort.

2. But her career path has been very different from dad's. Unlike her father, who entered politics at a young age when he joined the state legislature, the younger Nunn, 46, has worked in a different arena, promoting volunteerism through her work leading nonprofits. She currently serves as the CEO of Points of Light, a national group that encourages volunteer efforts. The organization formed out of the 2007 merger of HandsOn Network, a group that Nunn headed, and Points of Light Foundation, which was formed in 1990 in response to George H.W. Bush's call for volunteerism.

3. She has flirted with a Senate run before. Nunn considered running for the Senate in 2004, but passed, citing family reasons. "In the next few years, I believe that my primary focus is best directed toward my 11-month-old son and family," she said at the time. First-time candidates are interesting to watch. On the one hand, Nunn doesn't have the baggage other elected officials have to carry. On the other, she is inexperienced. And a Senate campaign in a red state is a real trial by fire for any Democrat, let alone someone who hasn't been through the rigors of a statewide bid.

4. She will focus on the economy, while Republicans will link her to Washington Democrats. Georgia is a red state. Democrats running statewide hoping to have any success must tread a moderate track, and Nunn appears to be very aware of this. Nunn told the Journal-Constitution her focus will be on the economy and deficit reduction, a typical focal point for Democrats running on GOP terrain. Republicans, meanwhile, are aiming to link Nunn to President Obama, Democratic congressional leaders, and their agenda. Nunn attended a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser with Obama in May.

5. She has studied overseas. Nunn is a graduate of the University of Virginia who has also studied overseas at Oxford University and in India.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Scott Clement · July 23, 2013