It was only a matter of time, but President George H.W. Bush has jumped once again into the Georgia Senate race — and not on the side of the Democratic candidate who ran his Points of Light Foundation.
Bush did not mention Michelle Nunn by name in a fundraising email Friday. But the former president made it clear he's putting his money behind the GOP, and wants others to do the same.
“America is moving in the wrong direction,” Bush said, adding that as he approached his 90th birthday he felt compelled to get involved.
The GOP primary in Georgia is headed to a July runoff between Jack Kingston, the Savannah-area congressman, and millionaire former business executive David Perdue. The primary has been bruising for Republicans and Nunn, a political newcomer and daughter of a popular former senator, has benefited from the infighting as she shores up her campaign.
Democrats see Georgia, and its changing demographics, as their best pick-up opportunity as they battle Republicans for control of the Senate. And Nunn's appeal as a moderate Democrat who worked for the nonprofit group associated with Bush gives her bipartisan bona fides in the still-red state.
It was not the first time Bush had sought donations to the Senate Battleground Fund, which will support the eventual GOP nominee. But as the race narrows, it carries import.
“Happily, Republicans in Georgia have put two good men into a runoff,” Bush wrote. “It will be late summer before the eventual nominee is determined, however; so in the interim, Barbara and I are getting behind the Senate Battleground Fund to make sure that GOP nominee has the resources he needs to prevail in the general election.”
The Nunn campaign said their candidate has great respect for the former president and the work she has done with his organization will help her as a senator.
“Michelle has enormous personal respect and affection for President Bush and is honored to have led his Points of Light Foundation for seven years,” said the campaign's chairman, Gordon Giffin. “She believes the experience of running the organization is a model Washington can learn from that shows what can be accomplished when partisan differences are put aside and people focus on common ground.”
The fund is a joint fundraising committee between the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It has raised more than $700,000 as of April, and spent almost as much in a transfer to the NRSC, according to the watchdog Sunlight Foundation, as well as federal election documents.