How Republicans unearthed the Michelle Nunn memo: They ‘Googled’ her

By Daniel Malloy

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

Mystery solved. We now know the skullduggery Republican tacticians used to get hold of Michelle Nunn’s internal campaign memo.

Google.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Rob Collins revealed the secret at a Politico event with his Democratic counterpart on Wednesday. Here’s Politico’s account:

Collins said this was a joint effort with America Rising, a conservative outside group that the NRSC pays. He said he initially imagined that researchers had found the memo on the “insane dark web.”

“No,” asserted Collins. “We basically Googled Michelle Nunn, and we hit the second page on Google, and there was a link right next to it. … It was an unsecured Google document they just put on the web.”

They thought it might be an elaborate ruse designed to be discovered and decided that others should not click on it in case the Nunn campaign noticed a boost in traffic. But the pollster, fundraising consultant and others kept adding more information into the Google Doc.

It took a lot of self-discipline, but Republicans held onto the file for seven months — waiting until the end of the Republican Senate runoff. They knew that the nominee would be bloodied and broke.

“We dropped the memo to try and distract them for a few days,” said Collins. “It sounds like, by all indications, we distracted them for three or four weeks.”

***

A new Channel 2 Action News/Landmark Communications poll again shows the U.S. Senate race in Georgia too close to call, with Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue tied at 47 percent.

In the race for governor, Republican incumbent Nathan Deal holds a slight lead over Democrat Jason Carter, 48 to 46 percent. Watch:

Crosstabs are available here. Independents appear to be making the difference in the two contests, with Deal getting a larger helping than Perdue. One more thing: The poll also shows Republican Richard Woods ahead of Democrat Valarie Wilson in the race for state school superintendent — but within the margin of error.

***

Next Tuesday night, if you see a difference in the performance between Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue, who top the GOP ticket, there could be a good reason.

That “outsider” label that Perdue has slapped on himself? It’s real.

Yes, they’ll be seen together this final weekend, but for the last three months, Perdue and Deal have run entirely separate campaigns that rarely intersect.

Perdue appears to have significantly less support from Republican state lawmakers in the state Capitol, perhaps another impact of his runoff fight with U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah.

But there are measurable signs of distance, too. With flyers and robocalls, the Georgia GOP has been a second arm of the Deal campaign, firing nonstop attacks on Democrat Jason Carter. We have yet to see a party-sponsored attack on Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

In order to escape spending caps, party spending must be on behalf of slates of candidates, not individuals. In small type on mailers, or in brief comments on robocalls, the Georgia GOP lists Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. But not David Perdue.

The divided campaigns will be most apparent on Tuesday night. The governor’s election-night party, along with most other statewide Republican campaigns, will be centered around the new College Football Hall of Fame, in downtown Atlanta.
Perdue will gather his supporters at the Intercontinental Hotel, miles away in Buckhead.

***

Below is a take by Merle Black, the Emory University political scientist, on the race for governor in Georgia. If you’re Democrat Jason Carter or Republican Nathan Deal, you won’t like it:

***

Outside money continues to fly into the U.S. Senate race. Here’s the latest from the FEC:

– Liberal Super PAC Patriot Majority added $200,000 to its TV buy attacking David Perdue, bringing its total to $637,000, and threw in $19,000 hitting Rick Allen in the 12th Congressional District race;

– Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group, spent another $94,000 on mailers attacking Michelle Nunn, bringing the group’s election total to $466,000;

– Ending Spending Action Fund, the conservative group that has been spending big in Georgia since the spring, dropped $230,000 on phone calls and online ads. Its new total: $5.46 million.

***

You can question the timing — and Democrats surely will — but Gov. Nathan Deal said he expected another jobs announcement this week.

The governor told a crowd of a few hundred in a Monroe restaurant that a firm would soon announce it was adding 700 jobs. Deal has touted other recent jobs announcements on the campaign trail as sign his economic policy was working.

***

Jason Carter had strong words for Gov. Nathan Deal at a rally last night. “They know they can’t win on Election Day,” the Democrat told our colleague Jeremy Redmon. “They are not even trying to win on Election Day anymore. They are planning for a runoff.”

***

Georgia’s Senate candidates may go to great lengths to avoid trackers. But the candidates for governor don’t seem to mind the extra attention. Democrat Jason Carter’s campaign has few issues with the GOP operatives recording his moves. And Gov. Nathan Deal’s aides have warmly embraced — you read that right — the Democratic tracker following him.

Witness:

@Goblinclever Drive safe. See you bright and early, buddy. Your pups will be happy, I’m sure!

— Jen Talaber (@JMTalaber) October 30, 2014

***

Whoops! A Democratic lawmaker sent along this message he accidentally received from a Republican operative pushing Gov. Nathan Deal’s re-election. The note was presumably intended for GOP legislators.

Read on for an inside look at how the sausage of a robo-call is made:

We are doing targeted robocalls in certain parts of the state and your district is one of our targets. No, this isn’t going out statewide. We would greatly appreciate your recording a robo-call that we will then push out over the weekend. Directions are pasted below. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know

Hello, this is your State [Representative/Senator] [First Name] [Last Name] calling on behalf of the Georgia Republican Party.

I’m urging you to vote for Governor Nathan Deal because he’s delivered real results for [COUNTY/LOCAL AREA] by helping create 300,000 new jobs and making Georgia #1 for business.

His opponent, Jason Carter, has zero record and plans to bring higher taxes and reckless spending to [COUNTY/LOCAL AREA].

I strongly urge you to vote for Nathan Deal this Tuesday, November 4th.

Thank you

***

Republican U.S. House hopeful Rick Allen has linked arms with Senate candidate David Perdue at every opportunity on the trail. Now the businessmen have the same foe: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Chamber endorsed Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, for re-election this year and has reserved television time in Augusta and Savannah for the race’s final days. So Allen went on the attack in a press release captured by the folks at Peach Pundit — with the same theme Perdue used against the pro-Kingston Chamber in his runoff:

“John Barrow is a trial lawyer and professional politician who has never created a job in his life but that’s just fine with the Chamber which wants more taxpayer handouts and amnesty for illegal immigrants and sees a fellow traveler in John Barrow,” said Allen spokesman Dan McLagan. “While Congressman Barrow runs an attack ad lying about Rick’s immigration stance, he has accepted $250,000 from the U.S. Chamber which is an outspoken proponent of amnesty. Which side of the immigration issue is Congressman Barrow on?”

***

Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, became the latest Georgia politician to cross into the Florida panhandle to campaign in one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. House races. Saint Petersblog notes that Lewis was the third “celebrity” this week to help Gwen Graham get out the vote in key Democratic counties — after Bill Clinton and Jimmy Buffett.

Via:: AJC Politics

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