David Perdue
Republican Georgia senatorial candidate David Perdue arrives with his wife Bonnie for his final debate against Democrat Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford before the Nov. 4 election in Atlanta, Nov. 2, 2014. Reuters

Republican nominee David Perdue defeated Democratic challenger Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford Tuesday to win Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat. Perdue won more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding an expected runoff between himself and Nunn on Jan. 6, 2015.

The 2014 Senate race is businessman Perdue’s first foray into national politics. Perdue held executive positions at top companies such as Reebok, Pillowtex, Dollar General and Gujarat Heavy Chemicals before starting his own trading firm in 2011. Known for his Wall Street connections and economic acumen, Perdue received support from former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, previously served as CEO at Points of Light, a nonprofit dedicated to volunteer service as a means of social reform. In 2009, she teamed with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., on the Serve America Act, which provided grants for volunteer work.

Perdue’s campaign portrayed Nunn as an avid supporter of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which is unpopular in Georgia. Nunn targeted Perdue’s business record, including statements he made in support of outsourcing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Despite Nunn’s reputation as a top Democratic fundraiser, Perdue raised more money than she did through the first half of October and spent more of his own money to aid his cause, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Ahead of Election Day, Perdue had invested nearly $3 million in his campaign. However, Nunn still held an edge over Perdue in total money raised, with a tally that surpassed $14 million.

Nunn expressed optimism Monday that she would defeat Perdue “the first time” and avoid a runoff election altogether. “We feel huge enthusiasm, excitement and energy and we really believe that we are going to win tomorrow and do it the first time,” she told NBC News.

Polling indicated that Nunn held a slight edge over Perdue as recently as mid-October. However, projections placed Perdue ahead of Nunn in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election, but also indicated that a January runoff was likely.

A joint poll conducted in October by NBC News and Marist University predicted Perdue would receive 48 percent of the vote to Nunn’s 44 percent, while a Survey USA poll gave Perdue a three-percent advantage. A New York Times projection gave Perdue a 67 percent of victory, while the Washington Post’s Election Lab placed Perdue’s chances at 79 percent.