While Romney was serving as Governor of Massachusetts, for instance, David Perdue was busy tanking a company called Pillowtex, leaving its 7,500 workers out to dry and pocketing a cool $3.1 million in the process. It wasn’t the first batch of American jobs that was killed under Perdue’s stewardship.But Perdue does add a twist of his own: pay discrimination. Under his leadership, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that female managers "generally were paid less than similarly situated male managers performing duties requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility," and the company was fined $15 million. So when Perdue sneered at one of his Republican primary opponents, Karen Handel, for only being a high school graduate, you might wonder if disdain for women was at play alongside the obvious snobbery. (In any case, Perdue's Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn, has degrees from the University of Virginia and Harvard, so he'll have to find another line of attack.)
From 1994 to 1998, Perdue served as a senior vice-president at Haggar. Under his leadership, Haggar implemented an enormous shift of company employment and operations overseas. Thousands of American workers lost their jobs, and nearly 50% of the company’s domestic workforce was laid off, but Perdue brushed it off as being “in the best interest of the company.”
Perdue rounds this record out by opposing a minimum wage increase, wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, and wanting to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax, a policy that would benefit the rich. And while Georgia has been a reliably Republican state in recent years, its demographics are shifting in a way that has to have Republicans nervous:
Since 2000, the white share of registered voters in Georgia has fallen to 59 percent, from 72 percent. That’s mainly because of demographic change — the white share of eligible voters has fallen to 60 percent from 68 percent over the same period.Mitt Romney did notch a solid win in 2012, though, with white voters going overwhelmingly for him. Turnout is always a challenge for Democrats in midterm years, too, and especially in Georgia, where if no candidate gets 50 percent in the general election, it will go to a runoff likely to feature even lower Democratic turnout. So Nunn has a high bar to reach, but in Perdue, she has fertile ground.
David Perdue will try to package himself as a job creator who knows how to Run Government Like A Business (not a good idea, in any case). Michelle Nunn's challenge is to make voters see him as that guy who shipped your job overseas. The top boss at your last minimum wage job. The boss who paid you less because you were a woman. The guy who thinks you're not good enough because you didn't go to college.