By Jim Galloway, Daniel Malloy
Michelle Nunn on Tuesday afternoon began unveiling the team of Georgia movers and shakers behind her Democratic run for the U.S. Senate.
Serving as chairman of the campaign will be Gordon Giffin, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada (a Bill Clinton appointee) and a long-time confidante of former U.S. senator Sam Nunn, the candidate’s father. Giffin served as chief counsel in Nunn’s Senate office.
Giffin is now a partner at the well-connected McKenna Long & Aldridge law and governmental affairs firm, overseeing the group’s international department.
Michelle Nunn’s treasurer will be Lisa Borders, the former president of the Atlanta City Council, 2009 candidate for mayor, and former president of the Grady Health Foundation. Borders only recently joined Coca-Cola as senior vice president of global community connections and chair of the philanthropic Coca-Cola Foundation.
So she knows her way around money.
But more interesting: Borders was a co-founder of No Labels, the organization of Republicans, Democrats and independents trying to break through the partisan impasse in Washington.
The Nunn campaign also put out a list of honorary chairs, clearly intended to show a unified Georgia Democratic party that won’t be looking for other candidates:
-- Roy E. Barnes, the former governor;
-- Arthur Blank, Home Depot co-founder and owner of the Atlanta Falcons;
-- Jimmy Carter, the former president;
-- Max Cleland, the former senator – who succeeded Sam Nunn when he retired in 1997;
-- Shirley Franklin, the former mayor of Atlanta;
-- U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta;
-- Sam Nunn, the former senator;
-- Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta;
-- And Andrew J. Young, the former mayor of Atlanta.
Two things worth noting: Reed was a backer of U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, who in May passed on a U.S. Senate run. So the presence of the mayor of Atlanta on this list is important.
So is the presence of Carter. Not many people remember, but when they were in Washington together, Nunn and Carter didn’t get along that famously. Nunn won his Senate seat in 1972 by beating Democratic incumbent David Gambrell, whom Carter – then governor – had appointed to fill out the term of the late Richard Russell.
In turn, some Nunn supporters resented Carter’s pushing of the 1978 treaty that handed the Panama Canal over to the nation of Panama. Nunn ultimately voted to ratify it – but some believe the act cost the Georgia senator any shot at the White House.
So it looks like that hatchet has been buried.