ATLANTA -- He won the primary, but businessman David Perdue couldn't celebrate too much Tuesday night. He faces a daunting challenge in the July runoff -- winning over conservative voters who'd chosen other Republican candidates.
They will hold the balance as Perdue faces the runner-up, Congressman Jack Kingston. Kingston knows the history of Georgia runoffs: The second place winner often leapfrogs the winner. "So we feel good about where we are," Kingston said.
Both men will be looking for votes in the camps of candidates like Karen Handel, who missed the runoff despite strong tea party backing.
"It's very difficult to choose between the two," said Julianne Thompson, a tea party activist who backed Handel and is now undecided and, she says, unenthusiastic.
Congressman Kingston, we've seen his record. We know he is a conservative," Thompson said. But she says she can't get excited about Kingston yet because of his backing by the US Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business group that has supported "establishment" Republicans over Tea Party candidates across the country.
"Perdue is unknown in some ways," Thompson added about the political newcomer who finished on top Tuesday. "I'm not overly enthusiastic right now but I hope that will change over time."