Georgia Republicans are already bracing for what they expect to be one of the state’s most bitter intra-party battles in modern memory. Two of their own—both generally well-liked and regarded—will spend the first half of 2022 shredding each other in the GOP gubernatorial primary, all because Donald Trump is a loser who can't handle the truth.
According to Axios, more than two dozen state lawmakers who saw the primary freight train coming their way made a desperate appeal last month to former Sen. David Perdue's better angels in order to avert the oncoming calamity.
In an undated letter, 25 GOP state senators thanked Perdue for his service and urged him to make another Senate bid after his runoff loss earlier this year, rather than challenge sitting Republican governor Brain Kemp for his seat.
“We are asking you to join us in fully supporting and endorsing Governor Brian Kemp for reelection,” read the missive. “Our GOP and state must be unified behind our Governor with a positive message to keep Georgia conservative and moving forward.”
They signed off with an "open invitation" to discuss the matter in greater detail. The GOP state Senate caucus includes 34 Republicans, 31 of whom had already endorsed Kemp for reelection by September. The group of 25 reportedly fretted over the notion that their letter might leak, so they never distributed it electronically—like that would matter. It wasn't exactly genius.
But the worst of the episode was really how Perdue responded to their entreaty. He told Axios it was "funny" that the group believed they might be able to influence his decision. Then Perdue just openly mocked them.
“This is what career politicians do," he mused. "They think that endorsements among each other can elbow an outsider out of a race. ... People who vote don't care about that. You know who cares about that? Career politicians."
Frankly, Perdue couldn't get enough of it, calling the senators "ironic" and "ludicrous" for thinking he could "be moved one way or the other."
In response, one signee bristled at Perdue's characterization of the state senators being career politicians while counting himself an outsider.
“Most have been in office less than Perdue," responded state Sen. John Albers.
Another signatory, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, regretted Perdue's dismissive response.
"We hold Sen. Perdue in the highest regard and always will, and wish that he had responded to us in the same manner in which we originally engaged with him," Dugan said.
Well, that went over like a box of rocks. So much for Republican comity and a sense of shared destiny—it's all downhill from here for the Georgia State GOP.