Georgia's Senate Race Has the Best Ads of 2014 (So Far)

Paul Broun makes clear that no means no, while David Perdue has the perfect metaphor for his primary opponents.
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Saxby Chambliss's retirement doesn't just open up the spot for best name in Congress—it also opens up a seat representing Georgia in the U.S. Senate. And that race could be one of the more interesting contests of the year.

On the Republican side, there's a crowded field vying for the nomination: Representative Jack Kingston; Representative Phil Gingrey, a doctor who once said that Todd Akin was "partly right" about "legitimate rape" not leading to conception; Representative Paul Broun, another doctor, who rejects evolution and has questioned whether Barack Obama is a Christian and likened him to Hitler (among other things); Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state who was senior vice president of Susan G. Komen for the Cure during its battle with Planned Parenthood; and businessman David Perdue, cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny.

On the Democratic side, Michelle Nunn—daughter of former Senator Sam—has earned accolades for a strong campaign, though she still faces an uphill battle in a red state.

The threat from Nunn means the GOP primary matters more; Democrats lick their lips at the prospect of a candidate who might stumble badly and hand the seat to them as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock did in the 2012 Senate races in Missouri and Indiana. And a heated primary means excellent videos.

Our first contestant is Broun, whose ad conforms neatly to the "keep it simple, stupid" school of marketing:

Somewhere, Mike Gravel is nodding (wordlessly, of course) in approval.

Perdue's launch video is almost as good. Most of the five-minute epic is classic American political pastoral: inspirational lite classical, recollections of small-town childhood life, earthy shots of the Georgia landscape, humblebrags about his business success.

What makes the ad so great is what happens once you're lulled into a false sense of familiarity and security. Suddenly, around 2:45, there's a menagerie of crying babies, wearing onesies emblazoned with Perdue's opponents' names. "Paul" and "Phil" even have stethoscopes. If this doesn't vault Perdue from the back of the polls to the lead ... it won't be a surprise. But it's still a great ad. 

All in all, it's been a banner year for Georgia video advertisements, and it's only February 6.

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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