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Greg Bluestein

Why Georgia’s sleepy Senate race could soon get a wakeup call

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Democratic Senate nominee Jim Barksdale at his first press conference. Greg Bluestein/AJC photo.

Democratic Senate nominee Jim Barksdale at his first press conference. Greg Bluestein/AJC photo.

Georgia’s sleepy U.S. Senate race could get a jolt thanks to the more than $3 million that a little-known Democratic outsider has pumped into his own campaign — and he could try to neutralize the Republican incumbent’s advantage with a few more strokes of a pen.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is considered the heavy favorite to win a third term, and analysts mark it as a reliably safe seat for Republicans in November. But his campaign is gearing up for a fight against Jim Barksdale, who has largely run a stealth campaign with few public events and remains relatively unknown to many voters.

“He’s demonstrated he’s willing to write a giant check, and I’m sure there are probably more giant checks to come,” Isakson said of Barksdale, adding: “I believe you earn your way through, you don’t buy your way through. This race ought to be about the issues, not the amount of money you have.”

Barksdale’s campaign, seeing a potential opening, on Monday challenged Isakson to six debates around the state. In his letter to Isakson, he cited the “two very different visions for America’s future unfold at the conventions” over the last two weeks.

Read more about the Senate race, and the sharply-contrasting foreign policy views, by clicking here.