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The three biggest things to watch in today’s Georgia runoffs

Voters are voting today in Georgia!

A slate of runoff elections will decide nominating contests in a handful of congressional races in which no candidate won a majority in the primary. The marquee showdown is the Republican Senate runoff, but three House districts are also holding elections today.

Polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. We'll have results for you right here on Post Politics. In the meantime, here are the four biggest things to watch:

1. Will the business wing of the GOP get its man in the Senate runoff?

Rep. Jack Kingston talks with Autumn Certo, left, and Brittany Riddick before heading to the main registration office to cast his ballot in the Republican Primary runoff election for Senate, on July 15 in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News, Steve Bisson)

Believe it or not, the business-backed candidate for U.S. Senate is not the businessman, David Perdue. It's Rep. Jack Kingston, a traditional Republican with longstanding ties to the business community. Kingston has received more than $2.3 million in help from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's biggest business group. And polls show him with a slim lead over Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General, heading into the election. Perdue was the leading vote-getter in the May 20 primary, but Kingston has coalesced the support of the Georgia GOP establishment during the runoff. He has sought to use Perdue's wealth to cast him as out of touch. A Kingston win would mark yet another 2014 primary victory for the Chamber, which has backed winning candidates in several other high-profile races. The winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, a strong recruit who has raised massive sums of money. Republican strategists are breathing a sigh of relief today that neither Rep. Phil Gingrey nor Rep. Paul Broun, both prone to controversy, made the final two. No matter who wins, Republicans will begin as the favorite on Wednesday.

2. How will the Club for Growth candidates do?

It's been a tough 2014 for the Club for Growth, which saw preferred candidate Chris McDaniel, above, lose the Mississippi GOP Senate primary. (Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)

Two days after the primary, the anti-tax Club for Growth endorsed a pair of U.S. House candidates for the runoff campaign: tea party-backed state Sen. Barry Loudermilk in the open 11th district; and retired Army Ranger and surgeon Bob Johnson in the 1st district, which is Kingston's seat. Loudermilk faces former congressman Bob Barr, who you may recall was at the forefront of the impeachment of Bill Clinton and ran as the Libertarian nominee for president in 2008. Johnson faces state Rep. Buddy Carter. It's been a tough year for the Club. The group has looked to House runoffs in Texas, Alabama and now Georgia to try to salvage the cycle.

3. Will Rep. Paul Broun be replaced by a Republican like him?

Rep. Paul Broun. (Gregory Smith -- AP)

Broun's bid for the Senate opened up his conservative-leaning district. The Republican race is down to Baptist minister Jody Hice and businessman Mike Collins. Broun's choice is Hice. Like Broun, Hice is no stranger controversy. He's suggested that Islam "does not deserve" First Amendment protection. Former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania backs Collins.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Sean Sullivan · July 22, 2014

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