Georgia Senate race could force state into political spotlight

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ATLANTA —

The balance of power in the U.S. Senate could hinge on Georgia, forcing the state into the national political spotlight.
 
Political analysts tell Channel 2’s Lori Geary the race will not be just about Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue, it will also be about who voters want to control the Senate. 
 
The race is also expected to bring a lot of attention and a lot of money into Georgia. 
 
“The distractions that the Democrats are going to throw at this debate are going to come fast and furious,” Perdue told Geary. 
 
“I think the difference is we are going to be a citizen based and a citizen run campaign,” Nunn said about the campaign.
 
Georgia voters won't be the only ones getting to know the candidates.
 
“This race could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate,” said Channel 2 political analyst Merle Black.
 
Black says for that reason, Georgia's U.S. Senate seat that's now up for grabs because of a retiring Saxby Chambliss, is front and center in the political world.
 
He describes it as a seat the Democrats really need to pick up and Republicans can't afford to lose.
 
The GOP needs a net gain of six to control the Senate. 
 
“If Republicans picked up six elsewhere and lost Georgia or lost Kentucky, then Democrats will retain control of the Senate. So I think a lot of the advertising here will be which party do you want in control of the U.S. Senate?” Black said.
 
Already, we've seen that is Perdue's strategy, who says a vote for Nunn is a vote for the national Democratic agenda.
 
“We can't give Harry Reid one more vote in the U.S. Senate,” Perdue said.
 
“I think I’ve already demonstrated that I’m going to be an independent voice for Georgia,” Nunn said.   
 
Black says it could easily turn out to be the most expensive political match-up ever in Georgia.
 
“I can't give a figure on it, but it's going to be a lot of money. Millions and millions of dollars.  It's not going to be just the money raised from Georgia, but outside across the country. 
 
There is a Libertarian in this race, Amanda Swafford, who could force a run-off.
 
Because of the change in the federal election calendar here in Georgia, the race wouldn't be decided until Jan. 6, 2015. 
 
That happened in 2008, when incumbent Saxby Chambliss went into a runoff with Democrat Jim Martin.