Speaking to the Bulloch County Republican Party, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, now a candidate for governor of Georgia, went on the attack against a fellow Republican, Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as against Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.
But Perdue did wrap up by emphasizing that his main intent is to prevent Abrams from becoming governor, which he said he believes would prevent Republicans from retaking the White House in 2024. After circling the room greeting people, the first thing Perdue presented at the Bulloch GOP’s breakfast Saturday, April 2, at The Saucy Shrimp restaurant was a video ad with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of him.
“I have a message for you from a good friend of mine,” Perdue said as Trump’s image appeared on the screen.
“The Democrats walked all over Brian Kemp,” Trump says in the ad. “He was afraid of Stacey ‘The Hoax’ Abrams. Brian Kemp let us down. We can’t let it happen again.”
After a voice-over narrator calls Perdue, “an America-first conservative outsider,” Trump, on screen, calls him “an outstanding man … tough… smart” before saying, “He has my complete and total endorsement.”
Perdue started his own remarks with praise for the Bulloch County GOP, saying that he thought he had carried the county “by 70-30” in November 2020. His actual share of Bulloch County’s votes had been 62.4%. That was in his ultimately unsuccessful re-election bid at the end of a six-year term as one of Georgia’s two U.S. senators.
“But more than that, in the runoff, only 2,000 people that voted in November did not come back out in January, that’s one of our highest anywhere in the state, so thank y’all for that,” Perdue said.
He said that he had “won” in November 2020 but that in the January 2021 runoff “several hundred thousand” Republicans statewide “did not come back because they had lost confidence in the voting system.”
Perdue was unseated in a Jan. 5, 2021 statewide runoff by now-Sen. Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, when Ossoff captured 50.6% of the votes statewide to 49.4% for Perdue. But in the Nov. 3, 2020, general election, Perdue had taken almost 89,000 more votes than Ossoff, and 49.7% of the total, in a race that at that time also included a Libertarian candidate.
Now 72, Perdue had served as CEO of Reebok and Dollar General before his winning 2014 Senate campaign, in which he called himself “the outsider.”
National Republican leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had wanted him to run for the Senate again, against Sen. Raphael Warnock, Perdue noted. But he said he had decided that he couldn’t win a U.S. Senate seat “running alongside Brian Kemp,” while Kemp seeks re-election as governor.
Criticism of Kemp
“I made the decision that Brian Kemp cannot bring the pull the party together. …,” Perdue said. “I just don’t see how he’s going to do it because the last two years, after selling us out with the consent decree, he would not give us a special session. He sold us out in denying that anything happened and he keeps denying it because he will not allow any investigation.”
The consent decree was an agreement that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, reached with some Democratic Party-led organizations, with Abrams as a key backer, in March 2020 over certain details in election processes.
The special session that Kemp declined to call was one of the Georgia General Assembly between the November 2020 general election and the Jan. 5, 2021 Senate runoff. State and county election officials had already conducted multiple recounts of the presidential results and found no errors that could change Georgia’s outcome in favor of Trump.
Perdue said one court had found “compelling” evidence in a challenge brought by some voters in regard to some Fulton County ballots but then told them they had no standing to bring the challenge. He acknowledged that election challenges brought on behalf of Trump were dismissed by courts across the country.
“When you hear the national media and all these other guys tell you that everything that’s been accused was debunked, don’t believe it,” Perdue said. “Every case nationally has been dismissed because they said either an administrative problem or because they didn’t have legal standing. So I’ve taken that case up in Georgia against Fulton County. I want to find out if I have legal standing, and we’re going to get those ballots unsealed.”
Perdue also assailed Kemp for the deal used to bring the Rivian’s announced electric vehicle battery factory to Georgia. While acknowledging that the plant is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs, Perdue called the sale of the almost 2,000-acre site near Rutledge for $125 million, or roughly $60,000 an acre, “a new lottery,” benefiting a few individuals.
“But here’s what they haven’t told us yet, is how many hundreds of millions of dollars they’re giving to Rivian to get them here, and they haven’t told us that George Soros owns $2 billion of Rivian,” Perdue said. “Now, guys, that’s a backroom deal.”
Claims about Abrams
Shifting aim to Abrams, Perdue said he must have come to the wrong meeting if he had to explain why he doesn’t want her to become governor.
“This woman, she wants a different America,” he said. “She doesn’t just want to be governor of Georgia, y’all. She wants to be president of the United States. … Never done anything, but she thinks that her time is now.”
He said he “has a strong opinion” that if elected governor, Abrams will run for president in 2024 or 2028. He also claimed that if elected governor, she would influence the outcome of the presidential election even if not a candidate, preventing any Republican conservative from getting elected to the White House.
“If I lose this governor’s race, we will not win in ’24. …,” Perdue said. “That’s my number one objective here in running, because if you have Stacey Abrams as governor, there’s no way in hell she’s going to let Georgia go red in ’24, no way. We won’t have voting laws that would protect us, they’ll be indoctrinating our kids in school, and we’ll have illegal immigrants voting.”