ATLANTA - Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue says his chief rivals in the GOP race for Georgia's open Senate seat are falsely accusing him of being the worst kind of Republican - one who wants to raise taxes.
"Of all the deceitful and false accusations that have been coming my way, this is absolutely the most outrageous," Perdue said Saturday during the final debate before Tuesday's primary.
While Perdue offered a previous pledge not to increase taxes as evidence of his standing on the issue, Rep. Jack Kingston said it wasn't enough. Kingston and others have accused Perdue of supporting higher taxes after Perdue, who is leading in polls, said a few days ago that increasing revenue as well as cutting spending is needed to address the country's fiscal problems.
"You should say, 'I'm against taxes,'" said Kingston, who has been dominating in fundraising and has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "You can't have it both ways."
The Georgia race is among a dozen nationally that will help determine control of the Senate. Republicans need to gain just six seats to claim a majority and they cannot afford to lose the Georgia seat they now hold, which opened when Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced his retirement.
In the debate hosted by an Atlanta television station, Kingston and former Secretary of State Karen Handel criticized Perdue for not voting in Georgia primaries. Perdue said he wasn't living in the state in 2008 and voted in the 2012 presidential primary. There were general state primaries in 2010 and 2012.
"I have voted in every primary," Handel said. "That is a very solid and relevant issue, whether you are committed to our party and to our principles."
On the Democratic side, Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, is expected to advance in her primary against three lesser-known candidates.