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Saturday February 6th, 2016 6:33PM

Kingston picks up ex-rival's support in Senate bid

By The Associated Press
MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) Republican Rep. Jack Kingston has picked up the backing of another former rival as he looks to consolidate support ahead of a runoff in Georgia's nationally watched Senate race. <br /> <br /> Rep. Phil Gingrey announced his endorsement at an event in Marietta on Wednesday, calling Kingston ``a strong advocate for our shared conservative principles.'' <br /> <br /> Kingston is battling former Dollar General CEO David Perdue and already has picked up the support of former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who finished third behind Kingston and Perdue in the primary. Gingrey finished fourth. <br /> <br /> From the outset, Perdue has sought to brand himself as someone with a valuable outsider's perspective. <br /> <br /> ``He believes the majority of Georgians have had enough of the Washington insider crowd and are craving an alternative,'' Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said. ``Now that David is in a head-to-head with someone that has been in Congress for 22 years, the choice he is presenting to voters couldn't be more clear.'' <br /> <br /> Kingston said his campaign is trying to ``unite the conservative family'' and pointed to the support of two former opponents and from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as evidence he's making progress. <br /> <br /> ``We believe that united, the conservative family will prevail not just in this race in November but also in taking back the Senate and taking back the White House in 2016,'' he said. <br /> <br /> The race is among a dozen or so nationally that will decide congressional control. Republicans are looking to gain six seats to claim a majority in the Senate and can't afford to lose the Georgia seat. <br /> <br /> Gingrey said he expects his backing to help in Georgia's 11th congressional district, where he's held the seat since 2003. The district includes Bartow and Cherokee and parts of Cobb and Fulton counties northwest of metro Atlanta. He brushed off barbs traded during an often contentious GOP primary as politics and said he was urged by supporters to back his fellow congressman. <br /> <br /> ``During a campaign, you look for little differences,'' Gingrey said. ``That's basically what we were doing: `Well you voted for this, you voted for that.' That back and forth occurs as you try to struggle to get in the runoff and hopefully ultimately be the next senator.'' <br /> <br /> The runoff is set for July 22.
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