Much of the speculation about the 2014 Senate races focuses on Republicans winning seats now held by Democrats. A counter-upset might well occur in the Republican stronghold of Georgia.
Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, is expected to launch her campaign for the Democratic nomination this summer. This seat is now held by Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican who has announced he will retire in January.
National Democrats are growing increasingly optimistic about Nunn's prospects, especially if Republicans nominate one of the state's three right-wing House members to replace Chambliss, though their first choice, Congressman John Barrow, has already said he won’t run.
Nunn, who is a longtime nonprofit executive, and the chief executive officer of Points of Light, the nation's largest volunteer network, has been traveling the state as she attempts to tap into her father's formidable fundraising network.
Republicans are painting her as an out-of-touch left-wing national-party Democrat. They also note that her father, a four-term senator, hasn't been on the ballot since 1990 and a Democrat hasn’t won a Senate race in Georgia in 17 years.
Nevertheless, Democratic polls show that Sam Nunn remains very popular among Georgia voters, including independents and conservative Democrats. Moreover, Points of Light was started by former President George H.W. Bush whose family is still deeply involved in the organization, which may make the left-wing charge a harder sell.
Others are expected to file for the Democratic nomination, though Nunn looks to be a prohibitive favorite. On the Republican side, there is a wide-open primary, and Democrats figure one of those three very conservative House members will emerge, making an appealing target for Nunn in November.
(Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)